by Joyce Ellen Armond, historical/paranormal (2008)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-506-0
Whatever you may end up feeling about Joyce Ellen Armond's Woman In The Mirror, I'm sure you will agree with me that there are very, very few stories out there in the erotic-heavy electronic romantic fiction landscape that resemble the plot or characters in this story even a little.
We have three principal characters in this story. I'll let you figure out for yourself which ones are the hero and the heroine, heh. We have Robert Ravings, the mad scientist type of fellow who is wrecked by guilt and haunted by the ghost of his late mistress. Lillian Ragget, the mistress, is a manipulative user of men whose habits need not necessarily die with her. Charlotte Grand is a woman with plenty of secrets who is on the run. She disguises herself as "CG" the boy in order to become Robert's research assistant. What happens when these three collide need not be necessarily predictable. This story is most memorable in that manner.
As a story with Gothic horror overtones, Woman In The Mirror is an interesting experiment, but it is ultimately a flawed one. The hero spends so long deciding to martyr himself by pulling his head back into his figurative shell as if he's a tortoise, while at the same time announcing that he is affected by lust and what not by another character, to the point that when he quickly declares afterward that he is in love with our heroine, I can only scratch my head and mutter under my breath, "You're kidding, right?" Robert isn't the most sympathetic character around - he comes off more like a self-absorbed and not particularly bright person instead. Poor Charlotte, on the other hand, is one of those heroines whose feisty nature do not mesh well with their circumstance. Her transformation from a scared woman to a bold creature mouthing off to Robert has me once again scratching my head.
The wicked Lillian, despite her thousand and one black marks on her virtue, is the character that I find the most interesting in this story. She's smarter than Robert and more consistently in character than Charlotte, for one. Besides, she's so much fun to read when I compare her to this permanently sullen self-absorbed twit whose head is stuck far up his rear end and that woman who switches personality too often for my liking.
Ultimately, Woman In The Mirror is an interesting story. I can't say that it works completely for me, but I'm glad that I read it all the same. It makes a welcome change from the usual paranormal fare out there.
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