Romancing The Rogue
by Barbara Dawson Smith, historical (2000)
St Martin's Press, $6.50, ISBN 0-312-97511-2

Romancing The Rogue falls somewhere in-between being inoffensive and readable. Everything I've read in this book is forgotten the moment I close the book. The two lead players spar and bicker and boink but little genuine affections are shown. Ergo, another so-so book to come my way.

Virtuous, innocent, shrieky, and crybaby heroine Vivien Thorne may be raised by gypsies, but she's no gypsy (the snobs in all of us can rest easy). She's actually ditched among the kind-hearted gypsy nannies by the poor - oh, it tires to me to recall the whole sad, very familiar family story of bad misadventures of Vivien's poor mommy, the Abandonment of Baby Vivien, etc etc etc. It's the Same Old Story. She discovers her origins in chapter one, and after much denial and feminine (read: tiresome) wailings, decide to seek out her True Path in Life (read: money, only, of course, we're not supposed to say that aloud - is the proper euphemism family?)

Michael Kenyon - no, not that Mary Jo Putney's Shattered Rainbow hunk, so don't lose sleep, readers - is mad when this waifish Lil' Poor Match Girl crashes into his rake lifestyle and charms his granny. She wants money, huh? (She does, but hey, she also wants granny, I'm sure.) He will expose her as a fraud.

Of course, they are attracted to each other. Granny plays dotty matchmaker. Michael is the typical rake, Vivien the typical bluestockingish, serious Regency Miss in trouble looking for cas- er, her "rightful family", and everything goes like every other zillionth gazillionth bazillionth Poor Heiress Comes Home And Boink The Handsome Stud In Charge romances out there.

By page 178, I am crying to whoever that has the power to change things, "Dear God, please, let something DIFFERENT happen! Make him a serial killer! Make her a transvestite! Make granny a drag queen! Hippos! Llamas! Camels! ANYTHING!!!"

No such luck. This book is for fans of deja vu.

Rating: 54

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