Her Scandalous Intentions
by Sari Robins, historical (2002)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-06-050353-X

Kathleen E Woodiwiss, is that you, dear? It's so nice to see you making a comeback, and in a more affordable $5.99 price too. So they stick you with a generic "Where have I seen the cover before? A Karen Hawkins book... no, a Cathy Maxwell book... oh what the heck, what did they say? Read one Avon, read 'em all?" cover, but I'm sure that... what? Oops.

So Sari Robins is a new author after all? Oops, my bad. Now there's no excuse to keep the gloves on. Let me plug my electric drill to the socket and we're ready to go. Who wants a barbecued debut effort for an appetizer? Anybody?

It seems that the author has gone on a berserk rampage to prove herself by cramming every conceivable overdone plot thing in a Regency novel into her debut effort. An artistic heroine? Check. A bluestocking heroine (the artist in question) who doesn't parties, doesn't know she's dazzling, and in need of a Nanny Fine makeover? Check. Alpha males whose idea of conversation is to forced his powerful gelatinous plasmoid erect penile-like tongue into her sultry innocent untainted mouth to roger her oral womanhood into submissive, I mean, into the blooming of a new woman (or something)? Check, check, check with a pen of purple lavender ink.

Murder? Check. Faked marriage to solve the case? Check. Evil momma-in-law who just happens to be related in some way to the sensitive all-caring heroine? Check. Heroine healing people? Check. Heroine with a secret source of wealth (diamond mines) and hence believes that she will never find a man who will love her for her? Like Taye Diggs will go on Rent: Che-ccc-ccck!

Dotty aunties and old ladies? Here. Intelligence hero? Wow. The evil nasty cousin? Hey! Hero thinking heroine a dubious character? Paging the psychic bus! A misunderstanding towards the end? Yeah!

I don't think I want to elaborate on the plot and names and all. Okay. Her name is Charlotte, his name is James, the evil cousin is Mortimer (with a name like that, he must be evil), she sketches the man she stumbles upon commiting a Heinous Crime (remember she's an artist), he stumbles upon her and her art, and you can join the dots from there.

One thing though: this book actually comes together very well despite a million plot devices crammed to the point of overflowing in this story. It's too bad the romance novel industry isn't more like catering. Sari Robins would have made a most efficient school cafeteria chef. Her meals may unoriginal and devoid of any imaginative tweakings whatsoever, but they are economical, delivered with swift efficiency, and if taste and refinement have to be sacrificed, at least she delivers something to fill the stomach at budget price.

Now who wants gourmet dim sum?

Rating: 50

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