Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-6860-3
Historical Romance, 2001
Enemies of the Heart is another one of those romance stories where the overly girly/childish/immature/just-plain-stupid heroine loses me completely.
Diana Grayson may the daughter of a pirate lady and a swashbuckling nobleman (I didn’t read any of the related books in what seems like a series called Lady Cat Saga, so I’m just quoting the back cover), but that doesn’t stop her from impersonating as a guy to aid her bungling young male friend from some sort of money trouble. She’s in it for adventure, by the way. She gets unmasked by her evil suitor Barclay, and is now facing a dilemma. Barclay is the over-the-top psycho who wouldn’t hesitate to rape our heroine at the balcony of a house filled with people, so when he wants our wee intelligent (ahem) heroine’s hand in marriage, you don’t take that man lightly. Diana, however, is no ordinary lass. She shoots him dead.
She flees to her uncle’s place in the country to cool down. But Diana has another problem. See, she’s in love with this groom from Ireland called Jared Devlin. Jared, being a noble Irishman, hates all English aristocracy, although he makes an exception of his employer because… er, Uncle Justin is the only Englishman he knows? But hey, romance heroes are entitled to their bigotry and xenophobia as we all know they cannot do wrong. Diana pretends to be untitled, Devlin thinks her an American (and hence snoggable), and they make beautiful horsey love in the stables. Upright and upside down, left and right, in and out.
Then Barclay reappears. He isn’t dead. Trust our heroine to be a poor shot, that twit. The smelly stuff hits the fan, our heroine starts wailing, our hero starts gnashing his teeth, bla bla bla. Oh, and Jared and Diana have to rescue Jared’s brother too. Lots of adventures here, starring a high-strung impetuous heroine displaying the emotional maturity of a pimply thirteen-year old tomboy and a hero who is as boorish as he is dull.
In short, it’s another day in Mundanesville for me. A romance where “intelligent” and “headstrong” are euphemisms for “thought-free recklessness”, where English people are all vile bastards (except our heroine and her family and the late Lady Diana and Elton John weeping at Lady Di’s funeral and… you get the idea) – all sing the Irish national anthem! – and where bad guys’ mastermind of an evil plot is the rapine of our heroine and nothing else. Sad. Mundane. Dull.
I know, I’m just too old for Barbie doll romance stories. Excuse me while I go measure myself for dentures.