Pocket, $7.99, ISBN 0-7434-3660-1
Historical Romance, 2002 (Reissue)
Since Linda Lael Miller’s upcoming hardcover contemporary romance revisits the Primrose Creek town, Pocket and Linda Lael Miller must have held hands and giggled in a most sinister way as they reissue the previously-published-as-$3.99-specials Bridget, Christy, Skye, and Megan in one omnibus edition.
For those readers who paid $15,96 for all those books as opposed to $7.99 for this single volume, well, tough luck. Life’s like that.
The premise is this: Bridget and Skye are sisters, and they are cousins to sisters Megan and Christy. They all have equal shares of a piece of land called Primrose Creek. Linda Lael Miller is proud to demonstrate how frontier women are the ancestors of some of today’s more stupid contemporary heroines. Aren’t we glad that these women found solace and even happy endings in the kind, nurturing environment of the romance novel? In real life, they’d probably be begging on the streets – if they could cross the road safely to the other side first, that is.
Let’s start with Bridget. She’s a widow who is angry because she believes that Trace Qualtrough, her late hubby’s buddy, lured said hubby to his death by encouraging hubby to enlist in the war. But before hubby died, hubby whispered to Trace to take care of the wife at home. Trace assumes that this means marrying that woman and all.
Bridget will protest that she doesn’t want to be married to a man she deems her enemy, but hey, we all know better, right? Trace will wear her down, not by roses, not by chocolates, and definitely not by a Platinum American Express card attached to a custom-made gazillion karat diamond ring, but by sheer arrogance and alpha mule behavior. Because we know romance heroines don’t go for mercenary nasties like sweet nothings, chocolates, money, and diamonds. No, they are virtuous, so they want to be bludgeoned unconscious in the head and dragged into holy matrimony.
I hope men reading this don’t get ideas. If you want to woo me, the right way is through my bank account, always in need of a healthy infusion of cash.
Still, Bridget isn’t that annoying. She goes through the motions of acting like an angry widow, while Trace goes through the motions as the man who knows everything, and the story proceeds just according to the schedule just fine. Nothing particularly irritating about this story, it’s just forgettable because it’s so familiar.
Then it’s Christy. Christy is already showing signs of mania at her age, and I do worry for her. She and her sister Megan plus the obligatory nanny embark across the mad, bad dangerous Indian territory to reach Primrose Creek. Naturally, they need a bodyguard, right?
And what better bodyguard than a lean, dangerous Texan Ranger, right?
“He’s too handsome! No! No! No! No! No!” Christy shrieks.
That’s smart, Christy. Head off alone in Indian territory. I’ll pay $500 for her scalp. Any takers?
Of course, soon Christy just have to accept Zachary Shaw’s presence. But since he’s like, you know, sooooo cute and sooooo hot and oooohhh hotter, she just hatehatehatehate him. Gosh, I’m growing blonde ponytails and belting out “Oops, I Did It Again!” even as we speak. As Christy starts running around, wanting to marry some guy just to spite Zach and other tedious nonsense, I just want this whole ordeal to end.
Then comes Skye and I will gladly be the test subject for cosmetics experiment or even the Chinese water torture thing, as long as I don’t have to read another garbage like this ever again.
The guy who didn’t get Christy, Jake Vigil, has a thing for braindead women: while mourning about losing Christy, he is simultaneously getting a hard-on for Skye because she is wearing a hot dress. Or something.
Jake wants timber on Skye’s piece of the land. Skye wouldn’t sell, because trees are like living things and like, you know, alive, so no, it’s so not cool to kill living things. Skye’s a bimbo girl in a fantasy world dancing to Aqua’s Barbie Girl… ahem.
But Skye asks Jake to sell her some wood because she needs a house. Let me get this straight – here is a woman who owns a few hundred acres of pine trees, and she’s in danger of becoming homeless because no one is selling her wood? What, only her trees are living things?
Hey, Skye can come live inside my toilet bowl. As a bonus, she’ll get a great amount of water supply each time someone presses the flush button.
Then, later in the story, Skye is saying that we should cut trees because it reduces competition among trees for sunlight and water…
Skye, get out of my toilet bowl. Yes, I’m evicting her.
To top it off, Skye is the kind of women who will shriek and yell at the hero for saving her life, Jake is the kind of hero who will eat pride and plunge the whole story into a big misunderstanding instead of accepting Skye’s help, and toilet paper is too good a fate for the papers that Skye are printed on.
Megan is a welcome relief after the bilgewater drinkfest that is Skye, but it’s still pretty bad. Megan has sold off her share of the land to get money so that she can run off and be an actress. And like all failed actresses in this kind of stories, Megan is back with her tail between her legs.
Web Stratton now owns her land. So what now?
What else? Spoiled, no-common-sense city gal being pampered by country man, she weeps, he coddles her, ugh. It’s pretty easy to see why Megan is a complete failure as an actress. Can’t think, can’t do anything but be a poison ivy.
Then, the epilogue, where Granny calls Skye “brave, lovely” and reveals that the whole Primrose Crack, er, Creek nonsense is actually nothing more than a matchmaking thing by Granny.
The only grand thing about The Women of Primrose Creek is that I somehow managed to avoid getting a stroke from all that high blood pressure that ensued.