Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-06-009218-1
Historical Romance, 2002
If Lois Greiman has a cult following like Anne Rice, I can understand if she chooses to black out the “books should at least try to stand-alone” rule from her list. I mean, who cares about reeling in new fans when you are a successful author, right? But I don’t think Lois Greiman is at Anne Rice’s level yet.
Still, good for her if she decides to do her own thing instead of succumbing to marketing pressures. Then again, we’re talking about a story where the main event leading to the hero and heroine’s meeting is alluded to (note that I say “alluded to” and not “described”) having taken place in a previous book in the Highland Rogues series. For almost the entire book, the heroine’s motivations are never made clear – again, you will have to comb the author’s backlist for enlightenment. In short, this is Lois Greiman making it very difficult for new readers to appreciate her stories. If this isn’t an author shooting herself in the kneepads, I don’t know what is.
Anyway, in a previous book, Lachlan MacGowan was rescued by a mysterious warrior named Hunter. In this book, he decides to search out Hunter to repay his debts. It isn’t too hard to find Hunter, but to Lachlan’s dismay/delight, “Hunter” turns out to be a woman. Rhona is her name, and she is rude, cold, annoying, nasty, and she steals his horse for no clear reason the moment they first meet. As will be the trend in this story, while fleeing she runs into nasty men and needs rescuing. Guess who rescues her. Lachlan decides to play her bodyguard to repay his debt to her. Frankly, from her subsequent irrational hot/cold mood swings, I’d prefer to just pay her one dollar and be on my way, but that’s just me. Lachlan’s more sadistic than I am.
Since I don’t remember a thing about Ms Greiman’s backlist and I don’t have her books with me anymore, I cannot remember why Rhona is dressed up as a guy or why she is so rude and ungrateful and annoying and irritating. The author thoughtfully explains Rhona’s motivations late in the story, but she makes it so vague and confusing that I still have no idea what Rhona is doing in this story. Something about saving little girls, but then again, since when romance heroines aren’t always about saving little girls anyway? Blah.
The author also tries to be funny. Early in the story, Rhona tells Lachlan that they both have the same needs and desires, so he assumes that she is a lesbian. And since he is gallant to his mother and he doesn’t seem to be the playboy type, she assumes that he is gay. I think I can assume that they are both complete morons. So we have lots of “he wants her but, oops, you know, and she wants him but, oops, you know” sidelong-glances and mental lusting thing, culminating in his rather bewildering “I’ll make you a real woman!” declaration. What, so lesbians aren’t “real women” now?
The Warrior Bride is like one of those bad gender comedies slapped in a medieval setting. Even if you love those stories – I can’t say I do – the lack of explanations on character background and development will be a big turn-off if you are unfamiliar with this author’s backlist. It’s like being thrust into the middle of a party of strangers, a boring party at that, that forces you to go on a nine-book backlist hunt just to fit in. There are better things to do in one’s free time, surely.