My Wild Irish Rose
by Rachel Wilson, historical (2000)
Jove (Irish Eyes), $5.99, ISBN 0-515-12972-0

When Callen O'Banyon first meets American Rose Larkin, he rescues her from a scoundrel without her even knowing it. This will soon be the theme of My Wild Irish Rose - the hero rescuing the very VERY clueless heroine again and again, without her even realizing it.

Fun? You love such cute heroines? Stop reading and dig in. The Irish accent of the hero wil be a nice bonus.

Me, I wonder if Rose is even human. Maybe I should explain the plot: hopefully all will be clear as to why I think she's an alien from planet Ditzorama. Rose Larkin's dead father left her a pile of debts, but she refuses to marry for anything but love. Yet she decides to take up her elderly Irish aunt Kate's advice and be an adventuress.

That's so funny. I mean, this woman who actually believes Every man in Ireland is nice and kind (I'm not making it up) wants to be an adventuress! Hahaha - wait, she's freakin' serious. Oh God, I better don my radioactivity protective gear for the inevitable fallout from this impending disaster.

She gets herself hired as a salon dance girl. Then she freaks out when she realizes she has to wear revealing clothes. See what I mean about walking through life in an eternal haze of butterflies - pretty, pretty butterflies! - covering her eyes? Luckily, Callen is there to protect her, as is the salon owner, and the tart with the heart of gold. Everyone scrambles to stay one step ahead of this walking disaster that is Rose to stop her from injuring herself. The fun thing is, she doesn't even know she comes this close to being roadkill ninety percent of the time.

Very little else happens in this story, really, apart from the Babysitting Rosie thing. Callen, who is a proper man who finds himself unbending more and more to meet Rose's definition of "adventurous" has his moments; in fact, he saves this story from being absolutely an outright kook-a-delic affair.

Thing is, Rose's weird. Here is a woman who has been left to shoulder a pile of debts from a wastrel father, and she doesn't feel nary the slightest amount of resentment to that stupid old man. She even tears up and goes agh-agh-agh at the memory of that man. Filial piety or extreme Electra complex? Who knows. Likewise, Rose's motto seems to be For auntie, for everyone but me - even into two-thirds of the story, she is still telling Callen that she "must fall in love with an exciting man to please Aunt Kate" (I'm not joking). What sort of woman is this, who would actually live her life just to please her aunt? First daddy, then auntie, and next will be pleasing Callen to death, I guess.

All this please-everybody thing must be hard on her. I bet there must be helluva ugly, festering resentment in her just waiting to be unleashed. I would bet further that Rose's inevitable nervous breakdown and subsequent descend into serial killer mode would make much more interesting reading than this Irish Babysitting yarn. Will Christopher Fowler be interested in doing the sequel? We can call it My Wild, Berserk Irish Man-Mutilating Venus Flytrap and split the royalties 50-50, how's that?

Rating: 53

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