Bayou Magic
by Elizabeth Turner, historical (1999)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-6380-6

In trying to flee the French revolution, Countess Christiane Bouchard desperately agrees to wed a man at sight unseen. Surprise! He turns out to be an impotent, merciless, abusive brute who owns a slave-run plantation on St Domingue. Gee, why am I not surprised? She meets overseer Reid Alexander who is, naturally, a hunk. Reid is sent here as a sentence for murdering a man. He's innocent, of course.

They meet, they feel this chemistry between them, but Reid thinks she's a nasty ho because she's marrying a bastard like her hubby. And he's attracted to her, naturally, which shows his good taste in women. Then the nasty hubby gets killed when the slaves rebel, Reid leaves Christiane to die, changes his mind, goes back to her, they go on a run to clear his name and rescue her granddaddy and Seek Happily Ever After.

This book has an interesting romance and many hot love scenes, and the action is pretty good. I especially feel that the fleeing of these two from St Domingue is wonderfully potrayed - I could feel the fear in the air as they hide from slaves-turned-rebels out for some rotten Caucasian heads.

In fact, the romance is wonderful. Christiane starts out a wimpy mush but oh, she toughens up wonderfully. Likewise, Reid tries so hard to be nasty but just can't help being noble. Wonderful, these two.

But the author's over-reliance on implausible coincidences to keep the story going becomes really distracting. Reid and Christiane go their separate ways but meet again three times under convenient coincidences. Finding her granpa too is an act of serendipity. And when Reid's enemy and hers are lumped together in one nice package to be disposed of, this book jumps off the edge of Logic. I go from Keeper! to You've got to be kidding!

But hey, there is a fine romance amidst these pages. I'm putting this book aside. It's worth a rereading or two, if only to get a smile from Reid and Christiane's infectiously delightful romance.

Rating: 73

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