Your Cheatin' Heart
by Nancy Bartholomew, contemporary (2000)
Harper, $5.99, ISBN 0-06-101409-5


Stephanie Plum is becoming more and more like Ally McBeal let loose on Trenton, and Susan Andersen's no-life stereotypical good-woman-no-social-life heroines are becoming an overdose. Thank God for Maggie Reid, the spunkiest, feistiest woman in town!

Maggie knew her marriage was in trouble when it rained on the joyful day, and her brother-in-law couldn't stop giving her irritating come-on's. But when hubby Vernell comes home after his 40th birthday bash to announce that he's dumping her for a much younger woman, well, Maggie decides it's time she pull up the anchor and move on as well. And when her annoying rebellious teenaged daughter Sheila declares that she's moving in with Daddy, new Mom, and Independence, Maggie waves her off.

After all, her Mom's right. Time to pull herself together.

Hence Maggie moves West and becomes the next Tammy Wynette in the Golden Stallion Club. While warbling Stand By Your Man one day, however, cops come in and drag her reluctant bum to jail. Guess what Maggie, your ex-brother-in-law is dead and you're a suspect. And poor Maggie, the cutest guy in her audience, an all-round virile cowboy, turned out to be Marshall Weathers, detective. Oh boy.

Never fear. So what if dead Jimmy's widow Roxanne wants a piece of Maggie (the woman thinks Jimmy was having some canoodies with Maggie)? Or her daughter is acting weird? Or her hubby, away from her, still manages to add some annoying complications in her life?

Armed with Momma's proverbs and sass enough to set off firecrackers, Maggie is going to save the world and maybe drag Marshall screaming into her knickers. Not that Marshall isn't that reluctant to see Maggie's underwear drawer, not at all.

I love Your Cheatin' Heart, I really do. It has great humor and zany, fun characters who still retain one foot on the ground. It is great that Maggie takes nothing lying down, and she gives as good as she gets. Marshall is going down (and have fun while at it), the loony killer is going down (and roast), and everyone has one jolly fun time. Reading Your Cheatin' Heart is like going on a joyride with fun, adventurous friends - I never know where I'll end up, but I know I will have a good time (and I did).

I am reluctant to say goodbye to wonderful Maggie and Marshall and Sheila and everybody in Ms Batholomew's wonderful world, but there may be a sequel. For great, zany, laugh-out-loud fun with enough romance and sexual chemistry to blow anyone's pantyhose, Your Cheatin' Heart is simply unbeatable.

Rating: 89


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