Jove, $6.50, ISBN 0-515-13333-7
Historical Romance, 2002
Good news – the heroine of My Hero isn’t a walking armageddon of all disasters. On the other hand, Cynthia le Wyte, at eleven years old, felt the first explosion of desire when Garth de Ware soothes her wasp stung hand. Eleven years old, huh, and Garth is going to be a man of the cloth to boot.
I guess the whole sex-fiend priest scandal has flown over Ms Campbell’s head?
Cut to years later, when Cynthia has lost the older husband of hers. Garth is not happy when she intrudes on his quiet monastic life (he’s this close to being a priest) in search of a husband. So, he’ll help her look for a husband! No, problem. Even if he’s having wet dreams of some Mariana woman (who popped his cherry) and Cynthia and other icky poo stuff, he will send her packing. He doesn’t count on Cynthia’s “I love him forever since I was 11!” girl power stance as she sabotages her suitors’ plans in ways that can make the entire legion of Home Alone kiddies turn green with envy.
Along the way, Cynthia delivers a baby, there is an evil priest, Garth pushes her away and declares that he cannot love her (conveniently after the sex thing, naturally), she heals him, she heals kids, she heals everybody, and hippos in tutus burst out from the background to back a drag Barbra Streisand impersonator as everyone bursts into a rousing rendition of Hello, Dolly!.
Any resemblance to anything outside a reject Walt Disney cartoon is coincidental. Any hint of characterization is probably a figment of your imagination. Cynthia cries on cue, turns on the heroics (or stupid theatrics, depending on how you see it) when it’s most impractical to do so, and shrieks that women are equal to men (ironically, in this book, women like Cynthia are morons compared to the men – so much for feminism), and she does all her nonsense with the determined perkiness of some hideous Bride of Chuckie doll inspired tenacity. Garth displays no religious conviction, much less confusion, and it seems in this book that all men of God are sexually confused misogynist pigs. All they need, apparently, is sex with a barely legal nympho to make things all A-OK again.
It’s fine and dandy if the author is doing irony and satire in My Hero, but Ms Campbell’s writing a bad Walt Disney cartoon while laboring under the delusion that she’s writing the Great England Medieval Romance.
But like I said, at least the heroine’s stupidity never reaches catastrophic levels. She’s just enthusiastic but dim-witted. Garth is grouchy and boring and flat but at least he’s predictable in his dullness. My Hero is an overlong Calamity Jane does Medieval Ballet cartoon that can be quite campy and amusing, but when it’s over, well, it’s over and done with. On to better things in life.