Sourcebooks Casablanca, $6.99, ISBN 978-1-4022-7762-7
Paranormal Romance, 2013
Leah Ramsey sighs over the fact that her ex-boyfriend tossed her aside for a lady with better pedigree and career after cheating on her with that briefcase-carrying hussy, spends time moping while taking part in Renaissance fairs, watches movie adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, and laments of the unfairness of how she would never be able to inspect Mr Darcy’s gentlemanly privates up close and personal.
When her grandfather starts talking about how concerned he is that he may die soon and leave our heroine all along in this world – he’s probably worried that she would accidentally strangle herself to death while tying her shoelaces – Leah gets worried too. Not that this would break her from her sphere of self-absorption, though. She needs to find the perfect boyfriend so that her grandfather would finally be content and at peace! No, really.
When the same mysterious housekeeper that inflicted her BFF into 19th century England offers to do the same to her, Leah is delighted. Instead of asking for that woman to do some European voodoo to make her grandfather happy, Leah would rather leave that old and probably dying man alone while she tries to persuade some 19th-century gentleman to hedge his odds at her table. That woman tells Leah that Leah would find true love at the house of the Duke of Granville, so our heroine believes that the Duke is her true love. Say what you will about Leah, she’s at least delusional enough to believe that she’s worth it. Really worth it!
Avery Russell is a valet in the Duke’s household. Imagine his surprise when this creepy babbling blonde crawls out of a bureau and insists that he’s her true love. (Leah sees the first hot guy and assumes that he’s the Duke – again, delusional.) He has his own problems. He is a former boxer and he wants out from that seedy world of thuggery and what not, but his old friends won’t let him. His father is in running for Asshole of the Year, and his aunt is sick and needs expensive medication. Oh, and he is feeling all emo and sad because he believes that he is responsible for his mother’s death. As Avery tries very hard to be the biggest victim of the year, he doesn’t need the added complication of wanting a woman who is determined to snag the Duke.
Gina Lamm’s Geek Girls Don’t Date Dukes is a time travel romance, but it’s basically a story where a pathetic, sorry, “geek” girl gets thrown into a fish out of water situation, but she continues to do what she does anyway, breaking every rule while trying to be “cute”, without having to face any serious repercussions. Avery and everyone else treat her like she’s part of the scenery when Leah goes out of her way to throw her modern-day sensibilities to their faces. This is a 180 from the author’s efforts to inject some realism into the portrayal of life as a member of the working class in that time, making me wonder whether things got trifled confused while this book was being written.
There are some pretty good scenes here, but on the whole, I’m too irked by the heroine to really enjoy this story. Leah is annoying – she’s delusional, self-absorbed, ridiculous, and yet, she sails through the story getting everything while acting like a My Little Pony on acid. The hero is too much of a plot device – conflict, more conflict, and lots of martyr tendency – and the whole story feels artificial because the heroine is never called on for being an anachronistic pill.