Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-7262-7
Historical Romance, 2002
This is an excruciating Irish superiority anthology that only succeeds in depicting Irish people, at least in romance novels, as sad, sad gits who could use a balanced meal or two. Kwashiorkor and beri-beri are the only explanations I can think of to explain the stupidity displayed by the characters in the three novellas in this anthology. And that’s because they don’t have buses back in those old Irish days, but if they do, a bad bus accident that results in severe brain trauma may also be a plausible explanation.
Tina Donahue’s Finally and Forever is beyond creepy, it’s lecherous-horngoat-wet-hands-up-my-skirt creepy territory. It’s about this Barbie named Briana who lost her Claddagh ring. She is so sad because she will never get married now! I am sad too. Here is a starving woman in possession of a very expensive ring, and she’s still starving after all these while! And now someone has stolen the ring! I tell you, I grieve for her, truly.
Captain Aidan O’Rourke overhears her and helps her. He buys her pretty dresses. He feeds her. He tells her endearing sexy words like “I warn you, I shall not be put off forever” all the while thinking to himself that he will never get married, ever.
Of course, Briana will fall in love with him in less than a week, and they get married.
I’m off to take a long bath. Nothing like exploitation of weak and helpless women sugarcoated as a romance of Finally and Forever to make me think of herpes.
Jill Henry’s The Keepsake isn’t offensive as much as it is stupid. Heroine Maeve O’Brien is in love with that man Connor Raeburn since forever and ever and ever. Hero, however, leaves for London and soon descends into endless whoring, slutting, and drinking. Jill Henry tells me it’s not Connor’s fault that he’s such a sleazy slut, it’s because his father left them penniless after killing himself, and poor Connor has to piss away more money on whores, drinks, and gambling tables.
Ms Henry, may I suggest looking up the dictionary under A and search for the word Accountability. Heroes who evade responsibilities for their own actions by blaming everything on circumstances are cowardly and unappealing.
Connor is back because he is exiled here for being a nuisance in England. Maeve, however, loves this cheap, sleazy slut, and she is so ashamed! Ashamed because her family has hit rock bottom and she is now a serving girl in Connor’s household! How can a serving girl be worthy of Connor, that noble and cheap and indiscriminate male slut? So Maeve runs. And runs. And runs. And runs. Because she will never be worthy of Connor! Run some more, Maeve, and watch out for that cliff – oops.
My IQ has gone down by 300 points, at least, just reading this stupid nonsense.
Finally, the best of lot (not that it’s saying much), Elizabeth Keys’s For the Love of Aileen. Rourke McAfferty is back, and Aileen Joyce, who has loved him like since forever, or at least, since she was engaged to Rourke’s brother. But never mind, the Stupid Inferior Brother is out of the way now. Can they find love again?
“No,” Rourke would say dramatically. “I fell in love once with my brother’s girlie, and now I will never love again!”
“No,” Aileen would add just as dramatically, “I fell in love with my hubby-to-be’s brother, and now, I too will never be worthy of love again!”
These two people are so in love with the idea that they can never love again, it’s a matter of who being the most irritating and pretentious in playing the martyr. Aileen and Rourke are so caught up in the idea of hurting in the name of love, they forget that they are hurting me too. “Just get on with it and start shagging!” I finally screamed in frustration before slamming this book shut.
Irish Eyes, hmm? Makes me want to send a sack of potatoes to Ireland in some humanitarian effort of the month thing.