Strangers In The Night
by Katherine Deauxville, Amanda Harte, and Eugenia Riley; historical (2000)
Leisure, $5.50, ISBN 0-8439-4749-7


This anthology is set between 1943 to 1945 - that's right: World War 2, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland - a new whole time setting, people! But like they say, you can create a new setting, but you can't mask whiny, petulant heroines and lousy writing behind Frank Sinatra cameos and song titles from that period.

Katherine Deauxville's All Or Nothing At All has a star-crossed romance between an Air Force hunk and a waitress of an exclusive establishment where contact with military personnels is forbidden 110%. This gives the heroine plenty of excuse to whine, scream at the hero, and moan about her sad life. Hero saves her from a lecherous producer whom she is too spineless to go against, but is she grateful? Guess again.

People who are trapped in utterly horrible jobs quit. This woman needs therapy. Next!

Eugenia Riley's Night And Day has a best friend telling his dead friend's girlfriend of the dead friend's death. They spend the rest of the story agonizing over Betraying Dead Man's memories by running their grubby paws all over each other's body. Gratuitous cameo from Frank Sinatra can't save this soap opera of whiners from putting me to sleep.

Finally, Amanda Harte's Strangers In The Night would've been decent if it weren't so clumsily executed and predictable. Heroine receives a dumping letter and vows Never To Love Again. When the dumper dies, she feels - guilty, I guess. She meets a handsome man who is Traumatized by the War - can they love again? You bet they do, but not before so much agonizing and whining that I'd think they're preparing for brain extraction surgery rather than a night of hot, hot premarital sex.

Sure, sure, the early 1900s make a nice window dressing, but what is it they said again, about putting dull, lousy, same old plots and all in new settings? Hopefully this is just a misfire of a guinea pig of an experiment, and we can get down to good stuff about the 1940s the next time around, instead of this watered-down third grade effort.

Rating: 48


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