Lord Of Desire
by Paula Quinn, historical (2005)
Warner, $6.50, ISBN 0-446-61594-3
Paula Quinn's debut medieval romance Lord Of Desire is a tedious chore to finish. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that is new or fresh or even interesting about this collection of medieval romance clichés. Unfortunately, these clichés also include the ridiculous recalcitrant "I won't love again" hero and the nitwit heroine incapable of thought. I force myself to finish this book and when I am done with it, I am hard-pressed to imagine why I bothered in the first place. It's that dull.
Brynnafar Dumont first encounters Brand Risande when she spies on him skinny-dipping and then shagging a beautiful woman after she breaks away from her folks on her usual "crazy hellion running free" rounds on horseback. Apparently this sends Brynna into a hormonal tizzy. Horny and stupid - are you afraid yet, people? Cut to a year later when Brynna's father is forced to surrender his land and all to the Norman knight Brand after the Normans have steamrollered the silly Saxons. Brynna has already decided to hate that Norman until she realizes that she's being made to marry that same hot guy whom she saw skinny-dipped and shagged a year ago. Brand on the other hand is not a happy man since his harlot wife shagged his friend presumably some time after Brynna's peekaboo so now he's on a "love sucks... forever!" rampage. They get married, they hate each other, they have sex, repeat and rinse, and his enemies cause trouble so that she can get into trouble and he can come to her rescue. The end.
Brand is a familiar hero. Perhaps you are wondering why he can lose his wife if he's this hot stud in bed and all, but that's because that slut is evil, doncha know. Brynnafar is the familiar type who cannot think before she acts, comes up with terribly bad decisions, and acts like a petulant small girl when she doesn't get her way. Brynna is a plot device rather than a character - every thing she says or does is designed to create mistrust or wrong impressions in order for the author to prolong her main characters' love-hate story so it isn't long before I fear the very act of Brynna breathing because she is a magnet for all kinds of communication issues and wrong impressions. Brynna is the kind of heroine who will eavesdrop on the hero's private conversation only to emerge from her hiding place to denounce and shriek at the hero if she happens to hear something that isn't to her liking. She has no subtlety yet she attempts to play at subterfuge. Ergo, she's a walking and breathing annoyance.
The plot is tedious, the author's attempt to create sexy scenes such as the peekaboo thing by Brynna comes off more vulgar than erotic, and the author's prose is the printed equivalent to paint drying on a wall. Lord Of Desire is a tired rehash of every overused cliché in the medieval romance formula and regurgitated in a most uninspired and almost mechanical manner. This book is so generic and impersonal. I can't even get worked up over the annoying main characters because this book is that boring. All I can say is that Paula Quinn should stop trying so hard to be like everyone else and just be herself in her next book.
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