by Adele Ashworth, historical (2001)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-81806-X
This review does not exactly state the spoilers outright. But if you pause to think for a while, chances are you will deduce the nature of spoilers from this review anyway. So be warned.
Two years ago, dashing and brilliant paleontologist Nathan Price is standing at the top of the world. He has just unearthed the fossilized jawbone of a Megalosaurus - the first of its kind - and he is ogling the luscious curves of Mimi Marsh, his associate's daughter. My-she-has-grown-up-drool, that sort of thing.
Nathan doesn't protest much when Mimi leads him into a private corner and he must think it's his birthday when she puckers up her lips for some kissies. Muah, muah. Imagine Nathan's face when he goes back inside, proudly unveils his fossil and - oops, it's no longer there. Where can it be? Stuffed in Mimi's brain cavity?
To be fair, Mimi's brain cavity wouldn't fit a Megalosaurus jawbone. A vacuum cleaner, maybe, but not a giant jawbone.
Cut to today, where Nathan is determined to restore his reputation. He blackmails Mimi into helping him sculpt a replica of his long lost Megalosaurus jawbone. Mimi, you see, has been doing the sculpting for her daddy since his eyesight begins to fail. If word gets out, Daddy's reputation will be in tatters, blah blah blah. Nathan's a smart guy, because he knows how to make suicide bombers out of Regency twitbrain women - just make them do it in the name of Daddy, The House He Left Me, The Sister I Am Obliged To Please, and The World And The Kids I Must Weep Over.
Mimi wears a red corset, and Nathan drools. Now all he has to do is to accuse her father for masterminding the theft of the jawbone, and watch Mimi immediately go into knotted-knickers condition as she prepares to Sacrifice It All For Daddy And Family.
But Mimi has a secret, sssh.
If you can't tell, I am not at all enamored with Mimi. She is one of those boring virtuous nitwits. I am all for virtue, but the problem with virtuous nitwits is that their behavior becomes completely predictable. From the get go, I can roll up my eyes the moment Nathan starts his blackmail scheme. "She will, of course, storms his house for some agreement thingie, seethes inside, prepares to risk virtue and all for Daddy, and besides, she's in love with him like, well, since she is wearing diapers and all, so what the heck, I'm going to sleep now!" I say smugly, and for almost two-thirds of the story, I have the privilege of saying hey, I'm a psychic. When I'm proven wrong, though, to my dismay it's a wrong sort of unpredictability.
(The author does really great sexual tension, though, I must admit.)
The author pulls a fast one, and the rare glimmers of feminine wiles Mimi display here and there congeal into a bewildering mess of contradictions towards the end. She declares that she seethes inside because her sculpting abilities are not recognized because of her gender, but all the while she seems more than happy to be Daddy's Shih-tzu foot cushion. The worst is the final revelation of her Big Secrets. In a sense, she has ruined Nathan's life, and in Nathan's shoes, I will be really, really furious. On one hand, Nathan is willing to hear her out. But the author then makes Mimi give a long-winded declaration of not-quite-but-still-rather-girly love that has me echoing Nathan's "What is her point?" Then it's the end and I am left with my mouth wide open as I stare at the last page.
What just happened? It's okay to do stupid things in the name of love? If some woman accidentally sets fire and burns down her boyfriend's house, is it okay because she loves everybody, kiddies, old people, and all? I like how the author tries to make Mimi a more well-fleshed heroine, but it's an abrupt, jarring transition that only serves to contradict Mimi's earlier personality.
Someone Irresistible bewilders me. Nathan is a very good hero, but I just don't get Mimi at all. You know what this book seems like? It is akin to a final product that undergone so many editorial processing/amendment/repair jobs by so many different people that all continuity, sense, and coherence are completely pulverized into dust. Mimi at the beginning is not the Mimi in the middle of the story, and definitely not the pathetic codependent weirdo by the ending.
Without any coherent personality that is the heroine, I end up wondering what the heck Someone Irresistible is all about. This is definitely not Adele Ashworth's best book, not even by a long shot.
This book at Amazon.com
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