Secrets Of The Night
by Jo Beverley, historical (1999)
Topaz, $6.50, ISBN 0-451-40889-6


I think I won't read any Jo Beverley novel any more. No offense to Ms Beverley, but she's not my type. This book comes highly recommended and the heroine still gets on my nerves. It doesn't take much to drive Rosamunde Overton into near-hysteria. Just one gentle prodding on her stress tolerance button and she goes teary-eyed, wringing her hands in abject agony over every little detail until she swoons.

I don't get this sort of women. These are the women the main characters in other historical romances make fun of. And the fact that the hero more often act like a father figure than lover make me shake my head more.

The young Rosamunde Overton in this book is the innocent, beautiful heroine who lives a life typical of a historical romance heroine - married to a kind fatherly man who is, conveniently, unable to awaken her to the joys of Womanly Pleasures. When the elderly hubby dies, all property will revert to the religious zealot cousin of his, and Rosamunde cannot allow that. So she must get an heir. She goes all determined and steely, only to break down into near-tears and near-hysteria after trying to find a willing stud in a masquerade. Weak-willed comes to my mind, making me feel uneasy, but hey, I steel myself and continue reading.

Then Rosamunde stumbles upon wounded Brand Malloren. He's good-looking, sexy, studly, and Rosamunde's womanly fears melt in the face of such virility. They spend a lot of time making love, Rosamunde on the verge of nervous breakdown over her deception, making love, Rosamunde on the verge of nervous breakdown... and I am flat bored by it all.

Maybe it's because while I find Brand a rather interesting hero, charming and noble, I only shake my head at his tendency to coddle lachrymosal worrysots like Rosamunde. Oh well, I guess some guys like their women hapless and clingy, all the better to pamper and protect. I've lost count of the times I just want to shake Rosamunde silly. You have to lie to protect your hubby's holdings? Fine, do it. Please don't spend paragraphs in fever-pitch worrying and hesitating and dithering and hand-wringing and all-womanly-swooning as after a while I'll go worrying and hesitating et cetera too and then I'll want to kill that annoying wimp who makes me all worked up.

I'm not looking for a transplanted Xena the Warrior Princess in my romances, mind you, but a resolute and steady heroine would be nice.

Well, that's it then. Miss Beverley is not my cup of tea. If you'll excuse me, I'll move on to the next book, with hopefully a better heroine.

Rating: 54


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