Heartsong Presents, $4.95, ISBN 1-59310-940-7
Contemporary Romance, 2006
I originally intended this to be the subject of this month’s TBR Challenge, but I left it behind accidentally when I had to make a trip. Now that I am back and I don’t like leaving unfinished businesses around, I may as well read and review this thing. So, ladies and gentlemen, Mary Davis’s Heritage. It’s a Christian romance and… oh boy.
Romance novels, like other genres, have their share of coded language that readers will quickly become familiar with. Because I generally avoid Christian romances like a vampire will shy away from a garlic farm, however, it’s likely that I am completely misinterpreting the code here. For example, maybe it’s just me missing the point and this paragraph isn’t completely insulting to anyone who isn’t a Christian.
Lord, how can someone be in Your house and not be moved by Your Spirit? Unless their heart is hardened. How could I have fallen for someone who is not Christian? Good thing, he hadn’t kissed her. Lord, that had to be Your hand. Thank You for keeping me from making that mistake.
Yes, Will, thank the Lord too for keeping your molesting Christian hands and penis away from me.
Will Tobin is the dude in Mackinac Island – a place where cars are banned – who is there to judge Rachel Coe for being an un-Christian temptress whose heathen ways are trying to seduce him into kissing her despite his godly ways. Rachel is a model who is engaged to a douchebag that tells her what to do, what to wear, and what to whatever else, and goody, she learns that she has inherited a big house in that place from a now-dead grandfather that she had never known up to that point. As she waits for her fiancé to show up, she wanders around wide-eyed, acting like yet another heroine in a Christian romance to whom becoming a Christian means having the mental capacity of a five-year old girl who has just been let out from a dark room that she had spent all her life in up to that point.
Rachel acts like she has never been alive before page one, so everything is new as well as too scary or too distressing for a modern Christian woman to bear without collapsing into a messy pile of indecisiveness. She is also obsessed with finding a legacy or heritage – hence the title of this story – and she is absolutely thrilled when she learns that she has more native American blood in her than Elizabeth Warren… and distressed because her fiancé may find her newfound heritage too embarrassing to be associated with.
Seriously, is this really a contemporary romance? Here, women go agog when someone says the word “savages”, and wait, do people these days still use the word “savages” in a non-ironic way to describe the native Americans back in those glorious early ethnic cleansing days of America? People in this story talk like they have been living in some kind of isolated community that has never come into contact with the rest of the modern world, and hence are forced to develop their own manner of speaking. Their mannerisms and sensibilities seem to be ripped out of a 19th-century handbook of good Christian behavior, completely skipping any evolution in social norms that happened in the last two hundred years.
Heritage is either aimed at centuries-old grannies nostalgic for the days long gone, or at virtuous Christian men who wish to vet their womenfolk’s reading materials first to ensure that these women would not be entertaining filthy thoughts that may challenge these men’s authority. It’s also clearly meant for Christian readers who need something to validate their beliefs that they are superior to the rest of the “unsaved” world just because they practice the “right” religion. Since I don’t code like these people, I guess I completely miss the point of this ridiculous, overwrought thing and really… thank Jesus for that.