Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-7032-2
Historical Romance, 2001
Irish Lace has a heroine who suffers from the pathetic puppy syndrome. The type that, in the face of adversity, curls up and whimpers so pathetically that only the most hard-hearted bullies would give it a kick. Unfortunately for Kathleen Maguire, the author has populated enough hard-hearted bastards to give Kathleen a hard time, and I’m not just talking about the hero Rian Quaid.
Kathleen, ye nincompoop from famine-plagued Ireland, travels with her cousin Meara to America, where Meara will wed her betrothed Rian Quaid. Alas, Meara elopes with a guy she meets on the ship, and Kathleen is left to tell Rian the bad news. But since she has no money, and when she sees Rian, she has no choice (really, she’ll tell you she has no choice!) but to let Rian marry her with him thinking she’s Meara.
Fun, isn’t it? Of course Meara, the woman who dares take her future into her own hands, will be punished, and she will come back to blackmail Kathleen for money. Rian will find out that Kathleen lied, just like his stepmother who is such a bitch, harlot, tramp, strumpet, et broken record cetera, and casts her away like old shoes. Kathleen will cry to the older woman who will reassure her that if she endures, Rian will come to his senses and take her back. Rian gets horny and takes her, and Kathleen opens up her arms, among other things, happily. Rian wants to shag her! He loves her again! Oh, oh, oh! Then morning comes, Rian acts cold to her again, and Kathleen runs wailing, in tears, back to wise Lizzy to ask for more advice. “What can I do to make him forgive me? I love him! I love him! I loveeeeee him!”
When she’s not wailing about how everything is her fault, she is gushing non-stop about how she loves Rian. Truly, I kid you not. Every quiet time when Rian is not pissing all over her (and we’re not talking watersport fun here), she’s trailing after Rian like an adoring puppy. Abusing the phrase “I love him!” to overkill, she cooes. Rian on a horse – how handsome! She loves him! Rian works in the farm – how gorgeous! She loves him! Rian scolds at her – how beautiful! She loves him!
Rian, on the other hand, has no problem pushing Kathleen face down into the toilet bowl, and she happily lets him, because, yup, she loves him. He just doesn’t want to marry, because all women are bitches like his stepmother. Then he realizes that Kathleen is “innocent” (an euphemism for “moron”), and he wants to bed her. Maybe marry her, I don’t know, he proposes to her out of the blue without much convincing motivation. Even after that, he alternates between wanting to drive her away or wanting to shag her.
Pair these two together and it’s a recipe for exploding blood vessels. He bats his eyelashes at her, and she comes happily. He pushes her away, and she weeps – how can she make this right, O Rian? Then he gets horny and bats his eyelashes at her, and she comes happily (oh yes, she really did, you betcha). Then he drives her away, and she turns on the waterspout act again. It’s pathetic, I tell you.
I can’t take stories like Irish Lace. It reminds me too much of those stupid chauvinist morality tales which tell women to “endure all the smelly doo your men throw your way, because in the end rewards will come galore” or something. Excuse me, but the Taliban Revival Society is that way.