Ivy, $6.99, ISBN 0-449-00517-8
Historical Romance, 2000
I can be a weird romance reader, I must say. Maggie Osborne’s universally critically acclaimed I Do, I Do, I Do at one point almost becomes a wallbanger for me. I’ve tried to restart and reread this book four times now and I still feel exasperated at the heroines to want to jab them all into unconsciousness with a giant tranquilizer syringe.
The story is basically about three women conned into marriage by the same man, and they set out to find this scumbag. Along the way they find love with other men.
But if you ask me, the author has only multiplied the irritating heroine factor by three here. Meet Juliette the classy and fragile one – Twitty Hen. She wants to find the husband to “prove that he marries her out of love and not just the money”. Clara, the Mother Hen, wants her money back. Zoe, the Obligatory Hellion Middle-Class Tomboy Hen, wants to shoot the son-of-a-dog. Talk about covering all the bases in catering to the readers.
But really, while I understand the initial hostility towards each other, when they keep bickering and snapping at each other after more than half the book has passed, I give up on them. These hens are noisy and irritating, can someone just shut these women up?
At one point towards late in the story a hero asked his heroine why the three clucking ninny hens didn’t just get a lawyer and proceed with divorce, I wonder why he never asked them earlier. Then again, I’m supposed to believe that these women are so unlovable and desperate that the scum in question found them easy meat for the carving. Now why is that so easy to believe?
Maybe I’m skeptical, but I notice the sisterhood bonding never take place until after these women find their respective new beaus. Great – another book that portrays how pretty women can’t sit together in a room without ripping at each other. So much for sisterhood and all that rot.
And the romances are horribly tepid. There’s no reason why these women can’t give up their chase and settle down, but the story must move on (and I’m quite interested to see the fate of the only smart character in this novel, the rogue hubby). So I’m subjected to the heroines lying about their matrimonial status to the men they love, then wringing their hands and hanging their heads in shame after consummating their love with these men. Nothing like regret and prolonged mental self-flagellation to ruin a tender love scene, I say, and it makes these women look stupid to me to keep holding on to a non-marriage vow.
And the final resolution – really, it only proves to me how ninny the three women are. Some cheap easy words and all is forgiven. And when one of them (can’t remember who) actually says the rogue hubby can’t be too bad, for he gave her an adventure, a true love, and two friends she’ll always remember, I can’t help but to wonder if she’s saying all that because she knows she won’t have to see the other women ever again.
Three clucking, silly hens pecking each other over an unworthy man and then beating themselves up to honor their vows made to the unworthy man. I got a sudden craving for fried chicken.