Warner, $6.50, ISBN 0-446-60583-2
Paranormal Romance, 2000
As much as I hate to knock down different kind of romance story, I must say that Come Near Me doesn’t quite work for me. Not that it’s a bad bool; it’s just too sweet. There is way too much saccharine for my blood sugar tolerance. Unlike the other two previous historical romances by this author, this is a dead serious romance about a marriage gone awry.
When the story starts, Adam Dagenham, the Marquis of Daventry, and Charlotte “Sherry” Victor Dagenham are already a year married. However, nothing is well in Martrimonysville – Adam has found Sherry in a damningly compromising position with his “friend” Richard Brimley, and now, he treats her like dirt. Oh dear. When Sherry finally snaps and dumps him like any sane woman would, he realizes he still loves her and woos her back.
But there’s more to the story than the usual dumb moron abuses and wins back wifey yarn – but I really shouldn’t reveal it here as it is a great plot twist that elevates this book high from being yet another generic big misunderstanding story.
But since that plot twist takes place only in the final one-third of the story, I am made to go through the two people bickering alternated with flashbacks of their courtship one year back. And the flashback is what gives me the hives. They’re disgustingly sweet. The moment our two lovebirds meet, it’s sickening to see the immediate shooting of stars out of their eyes. Two beautiful people besotted with each other’s physical beauty. Lots of lyrical waxing of Hallmark greeting card sentiments fly faster than popcorns on hot stove, ranging from cloying to really cringe-worthy. They love each other so much that they forget to find out more of each other.
They waste no time exchanging vows of forever and ever amen. But since they hardly know each other, any wonder that Adam turns out to be one sick control freak, going all hot and bothered over Sherry with other men, including his own brother? And Sherry has the personality of wet paint – too trusting, and she romanticizes and makes too much excuses for her man. Adam and Sherry are bland, bland, bland.
Their relationship never comes to life, in fact. I’m told they’re in love ad nauseam by every one of their acquaintances. There’s this irritating man called Chollie who fancies himself the jester from As You Like It or something – he keeps telling me and Sherry that “Once Adam loves, it’s forever” – yeah right. Control freak and forever – it’s creepy to hear these two terms in one sentence. Maybe Chollie should just marry Adam instead, or at least move to Greece, for Chollie’s constant championing of Adam does seem to border on something beyond mere admiration.
In a blink of an eye Adam realizes that he’s dung to treat his wife so cold, etc, etc, and sets to woo her back. Sherry doesn’t put up much of a fight, so at the end of the book they are as goo-goo eyes as they were a year ago, with nothing learned and nothing gained.
Hence, it’s no wonder I find the villain much more smart, sexy, and exciting. And believe me, the villain is one with a capital V. He’s the one with the brains, manipulating our two main characters like the puppets they were. I almost wish for Sherry to end up with him, were Sherry not as dull as faded wallpaper and hence not worthy of the illustrious fellow!