Dell, $5.99, ISBN 0-440-23713-0
Historical Romance, 2002
Whirlwind Affair sees Jacquie D’Alessandro trying to be serious, I think. Too bad her idea of serious is “Let’s see how much crap the heroine can impose on herself”. The heroine Alberta “Aborted Brainpower” Brown is stupid, no, dumb, no, she is the entire thesaurus entry for “stupid”. She marries a man who then died on her, but this is after leaving her financially strapped and stuck with lots of pilfered jewelry and precious thingies her husband had stolen or blackmailed from his victims.
And what does our Aborted Al do? Spend what little money she has on searching for the owners of the stolen goods and returning them, so that she can “cleanse her shame” and “be free” once more. It probably doesn’t occur to her that she, presumably an accomplice by her association with her husband, will be beaten to death by angry people the moment she shows up bearing their stolen stuff. But hey, we moral romance readers salute such a virtuous woman!
Unsurprisingly, disaster follows her as she crosses the Atlantic to England to seek out and return a ring. Yes, that’s right. She’s poor, and she’s going to England to return a ring. She almost drowns – maybe she is pushed? – and she is met on English shores by our hero Robert Jamison.
Robert is a decent guy, although his dialogues are a little too forced for my liking. But since he is a man who is charming, Aborted AI must not go near him ever! Because men are jerks, especially charming ones, even when this particular charming man has saved her life repeatedly. But she doesn’t mind having sex though, although she will not marry him. Never!
Picture me resting my cheek against the wall, staring woodenly at the distance as I take a frying pan and whack myself in the head again and again and again.
Aborted Al’s crazy attitude persists almost the entire book, which drives me crazy because Robert doesn’t even act anything remotely resembling a creep. In the meantime, Aborted AI loves to wrap herself deeper and deeper in her own self-imposed sense of guilt like the best of martyrs, and oh yes, she spends quite a lot of time in this book in trouble. Her hands, legs, whatever, will bleed and she lays on the ground, a hapless figure of pathetic passivity that she remains throughout the entire book. Pathetic, hapless, and stupid. Aborted Al’s story is so winning a RITA, I tell you.
The owner of the ring is a bad guy. He wants the ring back, and his henchman is the one trying to kill the heroine. She sends the bad guy a note saying she wants to return the ring, and he immediately assumes that she wants to blackmail him. Oh, baddie, you underestimate that Aborted Al’s brainpower. Put her in a shoe box and she’d starve to death trying to find her way out.
Have I mentioned Aborted Al’s amazing ability to feel spurts of sadness (when she’s remembering dead loved ones) or happiness (when she’s seeing her best friend so happily married), as if she’s a programmed robot?
A hopelessly formulaic braindead “moral” heroine and a plot that is six ways of stupid ruin whatever little charm Robert Jamison manages to infuse in this story. By the last page, the brainpower of both the Aborted AI and the villain have degenerated beyond the pits that I don’t care anymore. Even if Aborted AI mistakenly shows up on my doorstep to return a million bucks, I’ll still beat her ugly with a broomstick. And then I’ll take the money. Stupid martyr romance heroines, they’re worse than Jehovah’s Witnesses, I tell you.