My Lady Wayward
by Lael St James, historical (2001)
Sonnet, $6.99, ISBN 0-671-53788-1

My Lady Wayward is a sequel of sorts to Linda Lael Miller's alterego debut early this year, My Lady Beloved. The heroine here, Meg Redclift, is the twin sister of the heroine in My Lady Beloved. Stuck in the nunnery after her sister has married some lord, she now wants to escape.

Escape comes when a battered and amnesiac dude named Gresham Sedgewick is left on the nunnery's doorsteps. Since this is a medieval romance, I guess there must be a cosmic rule somewhere that says "the heroine must heal the hero and blush as she realizes, ooh, he's nekkid down there, ooh, ooh, ooh!" just like Western romances. So Meg ooh-ooh-oohs and since he is sooooo handsome, ooh, so cuuuute, ooh, and so brawny, ooh, she will make him take her along when he recovers!

I mean - he is so handsome, and his eyes are so pretty, he must be a good guy!

Meg, you are as stupid as stupid can be.

Gresham cannot remember who he is. Aww. He takes Meg on a road trip to discover his past. Wolves! Danger! Ambush! Traitors! Love! Oh bummer.

In the midst of so much danger and excitement *yawn* Meg faces so much emotional dilemma that will make her mature into a heroine I can relate to. Such as, ooh, those pretty eyes. Oh, he doesn't kiss her anymore, pout, pout, is it because of her hair color, her eyes? Oh, the pain! Is he married! Oh, no. Huh? Character? Personality? Who cares! Look at those eyes, and she's going all dreamy and swoozy.

For all those people who are still not satisfied with this annoying plethora of trite plot devices and girly love, Gresham has a wayward boy that will bring out the maternal twitdom in Meg. One day, someone will have to sit me down and explain how a girly-twit can turn out to be such a good mother. No wonder so many sequels featuring medieval lads grown up have heroes so screwed up, man. Their mothers are dingbats.

On the other hand, I really love how Gresham matures as a character towards the end. I don't understand why the author can give him the chance to do some soul-searching and grow as a person, while making Meg one of those emotionally stunted bimbos who don't care about anything as long as that handsome, cute guy is boffing her regular.

I have a feeling I will appreciate this romance novel more if I'm more enthralled with the fantasy of a supposedly plain Jane getting that handsome medieval equivalent of the football team captain, his character, personality, and all common sense be damned. The theme of this story is feminine viscera passed off as "intelligence and courage", and I, for one, am not buying this one bit.

Incidentally, there is also a subplot that sets up the story of the next heroine. This heroine-to-be shows great potential here, as she and the nuns in the cloister tackle the Black Plague, only to disappear towards the end of the story. When the small subplot becomes more interesting that Meg's batting of eyelids at Gresham, there is definitely something wrong with this story.

Down with the emotionally stunted girlies! Is it too much to ask for character and emotional development in the heroine anymore?

Rating: 65

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