In Love And War
by Merline Lovelace, Lindsay McKenna, and Candace Irvin; contemporary (2003)
Silhouette, $6.50, ISBN 0-373-21835-4


It's nearly September, so it's time to a military-themed romance novel from Silhouette as part of their "Lest We Forget... Always Remember, Oh, And Gimme $6.50" PSA service to all good people that love and honor Freedom and Democracy. In Love And War may have more credibility than many military romances out there in that the three contributing authors come from military backgrounds. Unfortunately, the high spirits of patriotism-met-capitalism may be the only thing that's rousing and soaring about In Love And War.

Merline Lovelace's A Military Affair sees Sgt Tess Ross leading a team to recover the wreckage of a WW1 plane and search for the remains of the pilot in some South Pacific Island. She is not happy when photographer/journalist Peter Quinn tags along, because she is sure that he is out to exploit the story for his own selfish gains. Then Evil Foreigners start attacking our heroes and heroines, and voila! Peter turns out to be the Indiana Jones type that Tess will soon have to ally with if they want to bring world peace and more. A fast paced story with more credible action sequences that those in the other two novellas, nonetheless an irrational heroine and a rushed romance fail to make this story anything more than mundane.

Lindsay McKenna reminds gentle readers that even though women today are supposed to be strong and free, they are still insecure and they play second fiddle to men. Comrades In Arms stars two stock military characters stuck in an Afghanistan desert. Special Forces Captain Dave Johnson is the hero, Captain Tara McCain is the interpreter. We don't want fragile femme readers to be horrified by the heroine outranking the hero or doing horrible things like euw, being a soldier and running in blood and muck and stuff now, do we? So they talk, psychobabble, ying, yang, tao, wao, and send me floating to la-la land. This one reads like a daytime Hallmark movie with lots of sand.

Candace Irvin's An Unconditional Surrender pairs ex-lovers Captain Jack Gage and Captain Danielle Stanton once more when in true romance novel style, she is captured by evil Foreign Slave Traders and is offered for sale in an auction. Danielle is undercover - I think - but it doesn't matter. She doesn't trust him, she can't do anything on her own, so of course she needs his help. It's always reassuring to know that heroines will always need saving by men even if they are supposedly skilled military personnel.

As nothing more than stock and formulaic romance novellas slapped with a military theme, In Love And War remains nothing more than a cynical attempt at marketing than a genuine anthology that entertains. Recommended for fans with some leftover change after paying thousands of dollars for Suzanne Brockmann's Best SEAL Buddy's SEAL and Spa Weekend Program, but everyone else, be warned that all is far from fair In Love And War.

Rating: 54


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