Zebra Splendor, $4.99, ISBN 0-8217-6101-3
Historical Romance, 1999
Victoria Dark’s debut romance novel. Marrying Mattie, is just plain ridiculous. I try to like it, even when the slapstick humor starts coming off strong at the expense of the heroine’s dignity, but when the main characters start acting as if their brains were damaged by a stampede or something, I’ve had enough.
Mattie is a widow who has a lousy marriage. Ty is a hunk who has a lousy marriage too. Mattie is poor, but refuses help (she would rather die than to accept help). Finally, after hearing Ty’s sad story about the bitch dead wife, she consents to marry him. For the sake of his poor neglected daughter – that’s right, it’s the Dead Bitch’s fault Ty is neglecting his daughter; women are all such evil bitches. Oh, and it will be a marriage in name only.
Naturally, they break the rule. In come stupid villains, and Ty and Mattie decide to come together in stupidity. He leaves her and his daughter alone when he knows the bad guys are coming, for instance. She running off alone on her missions of mercy when she knows the bad guys are coming. Oh, and the daughter, don’t get me started on her – she is possessed by a spirit of a bratty teenager. That’s the only explanation I have of her weird grown-up/child-like behavioral swings, by the way.
I know, I know, this is a debut effort, so I should tone down the paper-shredding somewhat. But really, there’s very little I can do when it comes to characters behaving out of character, a heroine who confuses independence with hotheaded stupidity, and a messy external plot that out-hillbillies Yosemite Sam. Sorry, but not much mercy from this now headache-inflicted reader.