Wednesday, June 27, 2007

One man's meat

I don’t randomly buy materials for the library. I read book reviews and pick titles that received good critical recommendation. So obviously whoever wrote the review for Heart of Honor, by Kat Martin, was completely misleading, because this has to be one of the stupidest books I have ever seen. The time is 1846, the setting is England, and the heroine (granddaughter of an earl) writes a weekly magazine called Heart to Heart, where she tackles the thorny issues of women’s rights and social reform. She has received anonymous threats warning her to leave men’s work – publishing – to men. But not our heroine! She is too plucky by half to back down. O.K., I could live with that as a plot device. But now we have the hero: a shipwrecked Norseman from a village that still maintains the ancient Viking way of life (think 1000 A.D.). The locals have caged him up and display him at a freak show that the heroine goes to visit (granddaughters of earls frequently attended freak shows during the Victorian era). She and her father – a professor – recognize the ancient Viking language spoken by the caged hero and buy him from the circus in order to turn him into a proper Englishman. Still with me? Our heroine is of course attracted to his animal magnetism, and our hero is the strong defender that all women need (even when they advocate for equal rights), and the earl is won over by our hero’s romantic intentions for his granddaughter: “Krista says you need grandsons. My blood runs hot and strong and I will give her sturdy sons who will make you proud”. Phrases sure to go over well in Victorian England drawing rooms. The hero grunts and glowers his way through the book, even after he has learned English in a remarkably short time, and the heroine allows him to invade her personal space in a way that would seem a tad loose even in 2007. I searched in vain for the notation somewhere in the title page that this book was a parody. If you need a laugh, and you have no other constructive way to spend 2 hours of your life, then I guess you could give this book a try.

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