Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-6989-8
Paranormal Romance, 2001
Oh dear. I really want to love this book unconditionally, because it starts off unlike many of the direly cookie cutter time travels I’ve read recently. But when I find myself needing to fortify myself with a little brandy before moving on to every next chapter, I think something has gone very wrong somewhere. Oh yeah, the heroine.
Arden St Clair is an heiress to lots and lots of pots of money. Sheltered and naïve to the core, she longs for adventures away from her overly domineering guardians. On her 25th birthday she stumbles upon Any Time, Any Where, a tour agency with a twist: for around one million dollars, she will be able to go back in time to anywhere and anytime she wants. Convinced that it’s a con but what the heck, she has the hard cash to burn (I hate this woman), she signs the bottom line anyhow.
Regency England, here she comes! Unfortunately, things go wrong and she ends up in the middle of a dark forest instead of London. She also saves a young duke, William Robert Stanley Warrick, and ends up the boy’s governess. And there’s an added monthly bonus in the form of the boy’s guardian, suspicious Captain Royce Warrick. So between trying to save Billy Bob (as she calls the boy) from evil greedy pigs, teaching the boy to be a Care Bear, and courting Royce’s amorous ooh-la-la’s, she definitely has her hands full.
The story starts out fun. Arden seems like the daydreamy gal with a brain, and I have to know what will happen next as she has packed a lacy black naughty thingie as well as modern bra and undies among her Regency clothes. But Arden soon drives me nuts with her la-la-lee nature. It is one thing to have her talking to herself in a sing-song manner. But she is also one of those overly sweet, disgustingly goody-woody Martha Stewart with bigger breasts sort of heroines. She immediately calls William Warrick “Billy Bob”, presumably for the “Aww!” cute factor. She corrects people – it’s American Indians, not grubby heathen savages, please. She espouses equal liberty among the household – oh, you poor sweet maid, let me help you and let me scold Royce for not enforcing local worker’s union legislations in the household. She drops things like NYPD Blue in her conversation and then goes “Oops, silly me!” when everyone looks at her funny.
Hee-hee-hee. I need another strong drink. I hope I don’t turn up alcoholic after this.
If Arden can’t do wrong as a fabulous governess (despite her sheltered upbringing) and fabulous temptress (despite her sheltered upbringing), Royce’s wife-to-be can’t do anything right. Poor Christobel – she has to end up a ho of the villain. Cartoony villains pepper this story a-plenty, by the way.
So between cartoony villains and a Smurfette of a heroine, this story finally shows its true colors: To Tame a Rogue is actually a cartoon with sex. But one need a very high tolerance for “Heeheehee, ain’t she cute and giggly?” heroine and kid antics to even get through this book to enjoy it for what it is.
I think I need another drink.