Warner, $6.99, ISBN 0-446-60812-2
Historical Romance, 2002
Oh bah. Dorothy Garlock sets her story in an evocative setting, but she just has to use that standard manipulative “My characters are too stupid to say no to crap, so they suffer and suffer and suffer and suffer and suffer and aren’t they sad that way?” thing as plot. People playing victims and feeling miserable are so wonderful, I tell you, I think I will bash my head against the wall to complete my state of nirvana.
Julie Jones is the plain substitute mother of her clan after her mother died. One day, she falls victim to the contrived “let’s have her assaulted by a lecherous villain and then have her be rescued by the hero!” plot device, and Evan Johnson, war veteran (the Napoleon bashing hero legacy lives on even in the early 20th century!), saves her from his father. Meanwhile, someone is raping women all around town, guess who becomes the main suspect (no, silly, not that father, Ewan!) and guess who falls in love with who.
In the meantime, in comes a bad woman, Birdie Stuart, and her daughter, and Birdie corrupts innocent and pure Jethro, Julie’s brother, and make everyone miserable. Jethro has no balls to stand up for his family, and the rest of the Jones clan aren’t any better. Suffer, suffer, suffer. Why not just move, people?
Ewan and Julie have a nice courtship, rich man rescuing female victim style, but the story plunges them in a rape thing that make the whole story seems disjointed – it tries to be sweet and serious at the same time, but it ends up being just bewilderingly disjointed. When Julie reveals her Big Secret, it cements her status as victim – save her, Ewan, save her! Oh blarney, spare me please.
The Joneses are experts in suffering. In fact, they make it an artform. If stories of men rescuing such lemmings from their fate is what you go for, well, The Edge of Town is waiting for your $6.99. I just wish Birdie has completed her emotional genocide and have these losers tossed out onto the streets. I bet the Joneses will have an even greater time making martyrs out of their homeless selves on the street, heck, they’d probably have multiple orgasms as they freeze to death. Now is that a grand scene that should have been included in this book or what?