by Liz Curtis Higgs, Carolyn Zane, and Karen Ball; contemporary (2001)
Multnomah, $11.99, ISBN 1-57673-656-3
I love the local Borders. They stock trade-sized paperbacks on the same shelf, so there you have it: all those lovely inspirational romances shelved side by side with Kensington Bravas. You should've seen the lovely fireworks when my more conservative friend Gina bought Lori Foster's Too Much Temptation, fully believing that it's a kitchen-and-God romance.
I bought this one, Three Weddings And A Giggle while checking the trade paperback shelf for the new Susan Johnson (alas, no luck yet with the new Susan Johnson book). It looks cute. The authors' hubbies give their shameless endorsements of this book (Ms Zane's husband is hoping to buy a nail gun with the royalty check coming in), and there are some lovely recollections of how the authors first met and later married their SO's.
Alas, it is not to be, this book and me.
Of course, since this is an inspirational romance and the flames for reviews of these kinds of books, from my experience, tend to be the creepiest of them all, so I'll just let you people know that (a) I'm not exactly Christian, although I'm sure Simon Baker and Hugh Jackman will make me see the light if they try even a little, and (b) I'm not very religious. No, I'm not religious at all, to be honest.
So the idea of two grannies praying to God to heal their broken down vehicle (Carolyn Zane's Sweet Chariot) does not make me go "Amen! You go!". I laugh, but it's the nasty laugh people produce when they are watching weirdos making an ass out of themselves on TV.
Let's start with Liz Curtis Higgs' Fine Print, which will be fine if the Daddy of the hero doesn't creep me out that much. Meghan DeWitt, still fuming over a bad relationship, decides to move to new sceneries for a fresh start. She is hired by Hugh Osborne's father to tutor Hugh in fine speech (Meghan's a speech therapist), little knowing that everything is a matchmaking conspiracy by Hugh's dad.
Bloody hell, but the daddy really creeps me out. It is bad enough that somehow he is the God stand-in figure in this novella, leading the two dumb sheep through the nose just to marry and give him kids, but he talks in this creepy dirty old man way that freaks me no end. He doesn't say things normally. He says things to Meghan like "My son is in for a real treat" upon meeting Meghan, "He's a fine catch... er, character", and other things that I can easily imagine him saying with a lascivious gleam in his eye.
He's Survivor Marquesas's dirty old man Paschal all over again, just like that Paschal who pats his hand along the inside of that indecently young "Oh My Heck Evil Bride of Chucky" Neleh's thigh even as he proclaims to the TV, "She's like my daughter" or something. Pervert! Creep! R Kelly!
Still, Hugh and Meghan are nice characters, or as nice as two clueless and rather duncy people who have to be thrown together by the Pimp Daddy can be, that is.
Carolyn Zane's story is Sweet Chariot and oh my god. The idea of two grannies grabbing life by the testes and having fun is nice, but damn, the grannies' final adventure just has to be buying an RV sight unseen and then realizing that it's junk. They put their hands over the RV and pray to God to heal the RV. Can God rain me money while He's at it?
Their grandkids, Lexie and Jake (not related, not even cousins, although the latter may disappoint a few folks in more rural, homely countryside areas, I think), tag along and start misunderstanding each other. She thinks he's a boor, he thinks she's a city gal and hence not very Pure and Virtuous, whatever that means.
The fact that the grannies can't even act without making a show of praying to God first and the two young 'uns are as contrived and clueless as can be make Sweet Chariot a painful ride down the hells of painful storytelling.
Karen Ball's Bride On The Run is the worst. Alexandria Wingate can't say no to her father forcing her into marriage (God said obey thy father) so she and her fiftysomething but equally dingbatted friend Birdie bolt off. She's still in her wedding gown, by the way.
Oh yeah, God loves all creatures, even pathetically simple ones.
Alex here runs into all sorts of troubles, meets a nice man who runs a home for naughty brats, and Alex then proceeds to prove that she is hopeless in housework. Hee-hee. How cute. I want to die.
But the most annoying thing is how the author just keeps peppering the story with verses and "Jesus" and "God" and whatnot. I have not met any Christians who talk this way at all in real life, and in a book it is very, very huh-inducing. Alex just can't seem to talk a single sentence without saying things like how she wonders what God has planned for her, she has a Scripture Of The Paragraph for everything around her, and she keeps babbling about how Jesus will do things like this or how Jesus will act in situations like that, et cetera.
What is this? Bad Preaching 101?
It's tragic really, how for a God-loving creature, Alex is a train wreck, an accidental disaster waiting to happen. The guy, Evan, is a nice guy, but he must have done some really bad crap if God has to sic Alex on him. You poor, poor man.
Good intentions aside, stupidity is overrated comedy, but hey, that's just me.
Three Weddings And A Bored Mrs Giggles indeed.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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