Leisure, $6.99, ISBN 0-8439-5143-5
Historical Romance, 2003
I must confess that I am not in a magnanimous mood when I am trying to go through this book. Everything boils up until page 107 of Noble Destiny where I really can’t take it anymore. I snap. I want to fling this book across the room, although sanity prevailed the last minute. But because I’m a good person, I’d try to be nice.
The heroine disgusts me. The author’s attempt of comedy whirls out of control. Sticking pokers into my eyes will be in fact an act of mercy. Yes, I’m still trying to be nice.
The plot is like this: Charlotte Collins, a widow, is ruined because she married a guy in a most scandalous manner. Now she’s out to gain respect of the Ton again and she will do this by entrapping Alasdair McGregor into marriage. They marry. Then she refuses to get married because – get this – the hero refuses to waste his entire fortune putting on a wedding of the century for her. And damn, she wanted to get married at Westminister Abbey even if they don’t let people of non-noble blood get married there! And there are not enough people attending her marriage! She doesn’t want to marry him anymore. Besides, now people will think she marry him out of desperation. But she really wants to marry him because how else will she be popular again? Whatever happens, the hero has to come fetch her to their wedding day and she throws a holy tantrum.
And she keeps doing this. Everything is about her, her, her, and her. Who cares if she is being unreasonable, she wants it and she wants it NOWWWW. The hero is like a sucker who keeps scurrying around to keep this irrational ultra-spoiled braindead woman happy. What I would give to see him actually kicks this woman out to the curb and let her die there, because Charlotte threatens to make every single blood vessel in my body explode. I do not know how to describe the extent I loathe this creature. I would have to smack her until the bones in my right hand break from overuse, and then I’ll use my left hand. Once I wear out my left hand, I’ll use my legs and drive my car to run down this creature.
Charlotte’s behavior rarely improves throughout the story, and the author’s idea of conflict is to have both Dare and Charlotte act like children one would gladly pay slave traders to take them off one’s hands. By page 200, I don’t know if I want to lie down and burst into tears or just scream and shout because this book is truly a horrifying ordeal of people behaving obnoxiously and stupidly. I find no redeeming qualities about these characters, I absolutely hate them enough to pour gasolin into the burning house they are trapped in, and I want to lie down and pull my knees to my chin because one traumatic movie, one lousy TV show, and one horrible book are three things too many for me to take.
The humor is clumsy and painful. Here is one particular example of the author’s tortuous attempt at comedy. This is when the idiot woman doesn’t show up on the wedding day and the hero’s pathetic companion offers some heartwarming nugget of comedy. It’s on page 102.
“Would you care for me to ascertain the location of the lady you so honorably, if more than a little precipitously, offered to wed, not that I’m criticizing my lord’s actions, not that that’s possible since my brain could never conceive of that notion, let alone retain it and expound about it at great length, not when such a thing concerns one who is my better, as, indeed, my lord should know he is. In truth, I would rather cut off my other leg than make even the slightest criticism of the hasty manner in which you promised to wed a woman you barely know, let alone feel any fondness for, not that fondness is required in a marriage, as I have experience to know, having been wed for seventeen extraordinarily long years to Mrs Batsfoam before her untimely demise in a terrible accident caused by the Elephant Woman of Zanzibar on display at Mr Trencherfoot’s Gallery of the Unexplainable and Bizarre, who, as she seated herself on a bench, propelled by the Tasmanian Bat Boy across the room directly into Mrs Batsfoam’s lap, whereupon she choked on her harehound sweet, thereby hastening her death three years later by palpitations of the spleen. Indeed, my leg would be a small sacrifice to put my lord’s troubled mind at rest on the matter of his bride’s willingness to wed him, and as my lord knows, my very existence is inexorably fixed on making him happy. Shall I fetch a surgeon for the immediate removal of the one sound limb remaining me?”
While you’re at it, Mr Surgeon, just stick the scalpel through my head because I don’t want to endure any more of the “comedy” in this book. If toilet humor involving names and words is your thing, coupled with a heroine so bratty and imbecilic that she is begging to be slapped to kingdom come, who knows, this book may be your thing. There will be an audience for this author’s brand of comedy, and who knows, maybe on a different day – the day when I will win a trillion dollars (tax free) and Hugh Jackman, for instance – I may even laugh along until Kool-Aid wheeze out of my nostrils and hyenas fall in love with me. But that day is not today. It probably isn’t fair to this author, but I’m also not in the mood to wait until Hugh Jackman comes knocking on my door to give this book another try. I’m literally seeing my life flash before my eyes at many points throughout this book, and humor like the example I quoted above almost drove me to jump out the window.