Sonnet, $6.50, ISBN 0-671-03448-0
Historical Romance, 2000
Sizzle All Day, the unofficial sequel to Simmer All Night, tells the story of Jake Delaney, the brother of the heroine of the previous book, finding love with Gillian Ross. The Delaneys are still on the trail of the last copy of the Texan Declaration of Independence, and Jake’s search brings him in contact with the Rosses.
Gilly and her twin sister Flora are trying to sell their home, but the only buyer wants a haunted house. Therefore, Gilly decides to try haunting the place herself, and makes Jake her first guinea pig. Unfortunately, Jake’s dog attacks her and rips her gown so that her precious ta-ta’s are exposed for Jake’s ooh-la-la’s.
Jake decides to postpone his trip to visit countries where women go about topless. And mortified, Gilly poses as her twin sister Flora to throw the man off-balance. Jake soon finds himself roped in to play the ghost that will haunt his mother (don’t ask), while Gilly’s old boyfriend starts sniffing around for the obligatory kidnap-rescue scene in the last few chapters.
I must admit that Sizzle All Day is pretty amusing at places, and Jake packs a mean punch with his roguish mojo. I like Jake, he’s funny, witty, and he does naughty things with his fingers. But as the story degenerates more and more into what seems like a cold soup of clichés, it becomes harder to remember what I find amusing about this story in the first place.
Gilly has predictability down to a tee. Martyr. Broke. Bad ex. Bad sex. Innocent. Inexperienced despite bad ex and bad sex above. Shy. Unable to match Jake in the charisma department. Serious. Likes to read rather than gossip. Doesn’t trust men. If I don’t respond to anyone calling for me, I have fallen into a coma out of boredom – call the doctor.
Add in the bad ex and his bad wife. The matchmaking momma of Jake. The cute sister. The absent-minded uncle. The whole machine-gunning of clichés can go on and on interminably, but I’ll stop here.
Of course, one could argue than the whole romance genre is one big cliché and that the term creative writing is a paradox. Maybe I should just be content with some cheap easy laughs here and there. But with Sizzle All Day being what it is, I’m afraid it is nothing more than a comfortable, adequate, but ultimately unmemorable read.