Pocket, $6.99, ISBN 978-1-4516-6555-0
Historical Romance, 2017
Windswept was first released by Sabrina Jeffries under the name Deborah Martin back in 1996. It has been revised for mass consumption today, which is probably a good thing. I don’t have much recollection of the original version, other than wishing that if this book lived up to its title, a tornado would have swept the annoying heroine straight off a cliff. Indeed, this one starts out with a heroine who is most euphemistically described as a car crash, but fortunately, this latest reincarnation of Carrin Price actually turns out to be smarter than I initially expected, and she is never allowed to pull off huge stunts of stupidity. So… hurrah?
Evan Newcombe wants to discover the villain who murdered his BFF, and all clues lead to one “Lady of the Mists” in Carmarthen, Wales. Actually, Carrin Price contacted the dead sod to purchase back a family heirloom, a chalice. You see, Carrin descended from the druid Morgana, who decreed that every woman in the family must drink from the chalice on their wedding day, the bridegroom will die within three years. Carrin’s previous husband did just that, and instead of marrying a few more times to test the hypothesis like any sensible person would, she panics and seeks out the chalice. Not that she wants to marry or have sex, mind you, she’s doing all this for the sake of her tenants and what not. Isn’t she lovely?
Anyway, oh yes, dead guy. And now Carrin has the chalice, so she’s worried that she is going to be implicated. So, when Evan approaches her looking for the Lady – he thinks the Lady is an old woman – Carrin lies. Badly. Horrifically, actually, to the point that I’m ashamed on her behalf. Unnecessarily, too, because Evan deduces that he’s been lied to and she’s the Lady easily and quickly enough, which leads to all kinds of suspicion on her. See what I mean about Carrin being a moron? She has a hard time figuring out what he wants from her, and she also has a hard time not wanting to twerk her rear end at his crotch and beg him to take her, but because actually doing that is not a ladylike thing to do, our heroine generally acts like her head is spinning 360 degrees at full speed and it is a wonder that it didn’t just fly off from her neck.
Fortunately for myself, the author wisely tones down Carrin’s hysterical moron antics after a while, and the story actually becomes quite interesting. Evan has a silly angst – he has a temper, his father and now his brother beat up their wives, and he has a history of creeping women out with his jealousy and stalker tendencies. Hence, he is convinced that he is never good enough for any woman, although if you ask me, he’s just a guy who was written too early. Today, he’d be the ideal new adult hero – just slap some cheap “I got this drunk at Vegas” tattoos on his arms and glue a Harley on his ass, and ta-da, he’d be the newest superstar to tickle new adult readers’ loins all the way from America to Antarctica. Because he’s a relic from the 1990s, though, he’s just mopey. But he’s also capable, protective, and reliable without getting too much of a stick in the rear end, so he’s alright with me.
Mind you, Carrin is still a dingbat in many ways, so while Evan’s protectiveness of her is sweet, he’s also protecting her from the spillover of her own silly beliefs and antics. Therefore, the romance never feels like it’s between equals; in many ways, Evan is also her babysitter as well as lover. On the bright side, Carrin has some sense of self awareness, she doesn’t overreact and jump to imbecilic conclusions for the sake of conflict, and… she’s alright, really. She may not be the brightest bulb in town, but I suppose even simple creatures deserve to be loved now and then.
As for the plot, it’s okay. In fact, this story is okay. The characters are okay, the pacing is okay, and the heroine’s threat to bring on the stupidity doesn’t fully come through, so everything is okay here. It won’t be the best thing I’ve read, but it could have been far worst.