HQN, $6.99, ISBN 0-373-77151-7
Historical Romance, 2006
Morgan Becket is going to London. At eighteen, she knows she is beautiful and she treats her besotted admirer Jacob like a servant. She thinks rules are for losers and all she wants is to run wild, be free, yadda yadda yadda. Morgan has also never left Romney Marsh until now.
The Dangerous Debutante is Morgan’s adventures in love and intrigue as she makes her way to London for her first season under the care of her brother Chance and his wife Julia (who met and shagged in the previous book and are now breeding). She intends to be wild and free, of course, but she doesn’t count on meeting Ethan Tanner, a very unconventional earl whose pedigree can be considered as beyond the pale as Morgan’s. Sparks fly. Along the way, Chance and Ethan realize that they’re colleagues working as secret agents for the Crown. What a coincidence! It is just the other day too that I was talking to some bigwigs in Hollywood and I realized that I was selected without my prior knowledge to star in an explicit love scene with Hugh Jackman! It must be the stars, I think. When Morgan is sent back to Romney Marsh, a besotted Ethan accompanies her. Wait until she realizes that he’s actually accompanying her due to a mission given to him to check out the increasingly violent smuggling activities in Romney Marsh.
I like Ethan. He’s funny, stable, and witty. He’s also reliable. I just never warmed up to Morgan at all.
“What?” I hear you say. “You don’t like a flirty heroine who is confident enough in her self-worth? Who are you?”
Well, it’s like this. I adore heroines described above who are smart. Morgan isn’t. From the start, she behaves like a very spoiled eighteen-year old girl. There’s nothing wrong with being eighteen and stupid, we’ve all been there I’m sure, but half this book is all about me reminding myself that Morgan is eighteen and therefore has the right to be silly. Morgan wants to do anything she puts her mind to! Only… she doesn’t know what she wants to do, she only knows that she doesn’t really want to do what she has just done without thinking first. Morgan always pouts and insists that things go her way, but she doesn’t know what she really wants. She keeps saying that she wants a temporary affair with Ethan and then gets mad at him when she thinks that his feelings for her aren’t as deep as her feelings are for him. She allows him all kinds of liberty with her body and her lips can really sink ships at times if I’m to keep track of what she says to Ethan, but once she realizes that Ethan is a spy, she goes, “Oh no! I’ve failed in my duty to protect Ainsley! I am not worthy to be loved anymore!”
Eventually poor Jacob, who has been treated like a Quasimodo slave and toy by Morgan and Ethan, snaps. This causes Morgan to sink into an “Oh no! I’m been so selfish!” epiphany, which is good if she doesn’t then pull on that martyr cloak and goes the other extreme in now trying to demonstrate that she’s unworthy of love. Of course, I feel that she is unworthy of love, at least until she grows up some more, that is. Anyway, the epiphany is good, but it is cheapened by Ethan’s insistence that Morgan cannot blame herself for what happened to Jacob. Then again, Ethan has a blind spot when it comes to Morgan like the other characters in this book. Morgan are often described by these characters as intelligent.
Because this story revolves around Morgan, which is of course just how she likes things to be, I have to endure her childish antics until she decides to grow up, which then sees her jumping off the deep end and turning into a humor-impaired Mary Balogh heroine who would martyr herself for even the smallest reason because when she is suffering, everyone must know that she is SUFFERING.
No offense to eighteen-year old girls out there, really, but Morgan Becket just doesn’t interest me as a heroine and her story ranks down there with a typical “My boyfriend cheated on me with my best friend and my parents grounded me because I kicked my brother SO I AM ALL ALONE IN THIS WORLD AND NOBODY UNDERSTANDS MY SUFFERING!” letter published in the agony aunt column of some teen girlie magazine. It’s a sign that I am too old to listen to the whining of little girls when the only person I end up feeling sorry for (other than myself for having to encounter Morgan) is Jacob Whiting. Dare I hope that Ms Michaels will give him a story where he finds a worthy girlfriend and this girlfriend shows up to beat the crap out of Morgan?