Berkley, $6.99, ISBN 0-425-18197-9
Paranormal Romance, 2001
Okay, let’s see. My Heart Stood Still is a ghost love story between ghostly Iolanthe MacLeod and human Thomas MacKinnon.
The story begins with Iolanthe being murdered by the man her father gave her to because she refuses to give up the secrets of her home.
Cut to present day, where Thomas is brooding. He has climbed Mount Everest, he has too much money, and he is bored. Life is so tough being a rich, beautiful, and comfortable dude. I hate this man. He owns a castle in Scotland where his sister has some romantic experience there… I think. Anyway, he decides to head over the castle to do some R&R and maybe remodel the castle with his millions.
He is shocked to find the castle teaming with ghosts. Apparently he has the gift of seeing ghosts, inherited from… uh… his father Fulbert, whose name is on the family tree but there’s no mention of Fulbert’s wives or anything. There’s also Ambrose, who seems to be a ghost matchmaker, and his name is in the family tree in this book too. Then there’s also Duncan McLeod, no mention in the family tree.
Iolanthe is being chased by a ghostly Bad Other Man, Connor MacDougal. Hmm, I checked the family tree, and there’s no mention of him. There’s also some of Thomas’s ghostly ancestors, like Hugh who.. lemme check the family tree… nope, no mention of him there.
And then there’s… okay, that’s it. I give up. I’ve had it.
So many ghosts, so many characters, and all of them can’t disguise the fact that this is pretty much a rehash of a gender-reversed Stardust of Yesterday, only with ten times more the number of matchmaking ghosts and busybody sisters and old biddies. Iolanthe may be a ghost, but all she needs is a healthy dose of male reassurance that she is loveable and she is woman and poof! Here comes the ghostly procession singing The Sound of Music or something.
Bah. The author’s fans who have followed the author’s MacLeod and de Piaget inbreeding party from the beginning may have a better time at My Heart Stood Still. For me, this title is pretty prophetic, more than the author would’ve liked. Only it’s more of a flat liner than a heart stopper, and a confusing one at that.