HQN, $6.99, ISBN 0-373-77114-2
Contemporary Romance, 2006
I stopped reading Sue Civil-Brown’s books when her romantic comedies stopped being romantic and focused more on over the top madcap antics instead. It was as if the author saw just how much money Janet Evanovich was rolling in back in the early 2000s and thought, “Hey, give me some of that!” It was just too much after a while. And given how long it has been, and how the TBR Review Challenge theme this month is books older than ten years, it seemed like a good idea to pick Hurricane Hannah out of the pile and see whether a different publisher made any difference to the author’s determination to make the world her personal clown school.
Interestingly, this book is copyrighted to both the author and a Cristian Brown.
Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. This one sees our heroine Hannah Lamont making an emergency landing at Treasure Island. Yes, that’s really the name of that place. She refurbishes and sells planes for a living, and somehow her latest delivery began leaking fuel while she was still in the air. Now, she is stuck in the island, forced to kill time as the locals fix her plane. During this time, she finds herself tangled up in the lives of the colorful locals as they go against the mean, bad corporate types who want to transform the island into a watered-down version of Las Vegas. On the other hand, there is a pleasant distraction in the form of Buck Shanahan, who is straight out of the cookie-cutter “I am a hotshot maverick pilot type who has an attitude and a swagger, and my mocking of a woman is a sign that I really want to have sex with her, so she should be flattered!” mold that we have all seen many times before in Romancing the Stone, Top Gun, those Indiana Jones movies, and more.
To enjoy this one, you will really need to love poker. Poker jargon fly all over the place, and everyone here makes decisions and settles differences over a game of poker. Also, you will have to warm up to the hero’s endearing ways of calling women like Hannah fifty shades of harlotry – Delilah and Valkyrie are some of the things he calls her, and I personally feel all these terms of endearment make Buck look like a relic from the 19th century rather than a modern day hotshot. Oh, and he and all the locals call Hannah “Stick”. It has to do with a game of poker, don’t ask me to explain.
The romance is sort of just there – as I’ve mentioned, the author is more interested in bringing on the loonies than investing her time and energy on creating a believable romance. A lot of the relationship hinges on Hannah insisting that she likes Buck despite his constant mocking and belittling of her. Maybe she likes being treated that way, I guess.
Buck is one of the most self absorbed heroes I’ve come across in a while. Hannah survives what could have been an accident with her plane – and he spends a long time blaming her for ruining his card game and not wanting to give her any assistance if he can help it. He wants the island to remain a rustic place because he doesn’t like people – even if bringing in more tourists may actually improve the financial stability of his neighbors. Conveniently, he isn’t lacking for money, I’m just saying. Also, don’t mistake his “Keep everything green!” attitude as some kind of concern for the environment: both he and Hannah love their fuel-guzzling planes and you won’t see them complaining about how environmental unfriendly those things are.
The romance eventually settles to the background as the secondary characters’ lunacies take precedence. When Buster the Alligator is given its own POV and it starts thinking and plotting like a kooky human, that’s when I become convinced that the author must have really wanted to write sitcoms but a cruel twist of fate forces her to write icky romances instead. Even then, the humor is sort of iffy: it sometimes work, sometimes it can be really off. Hurricane Hannah has its moments, but once the author latches on to a humorous concept, she will beat that one to death and it soon turns into a grating kind of annoyance that just won’t stop or go away.
Oh well. At least the cover is cute.