by Allie Boniface, contemporary (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-536-5
If I get a dollar for every heroine in a romance novel that is besieged by financial problems, I would have been able to purchase my own private island, oh, ten years ago. Failed interior decorator Maggie Dolan has cleaned up her bank account but she still owes the Bank of New England some $15,000 so they are coming to take everything from her. Of course, she has her house, which she absolutely refuses to sell. Still, I'm sure author Allie Boniface expects me to feel sorry for Maggie, especially since she wails that she needs the dough to pay for her Alzheimer-stricken mother's nursing home bills. "I need the money desperately for my poor sick mother... but I am not selling my house, you bastards!" I'll try my best to put on my sad face. Oh, who am I kidding?
Because she loves her house more than her mother, Maggie decides to swallow her pride and ask her stepbrother - who she's not on the best of terms with - for a loan. Of course, she hasn't spoken to Dillon in years so she can only hope that her mother will experience a lucid moment and remember where Dillon is. Maggie also remembers that the last time she sees Dillon, his business went belly up. Yes, she is gambling on her mother to remember where Dillon is so that she can ask this man for a loan. I don't know about anyone else, but I can imagine why Maggie's business failed.
Perhaps it is fortunate that the hero in this story, Jack Major, is rich and has enough brainpower to ensure that Maggie will never have to worry about having a thought ever again. He was Maggie's first and only love, until Maggie decided that she will make a better martyr than lover and decamped those years ago. He's also the fellow whose company wants to take over the place on which Maggie's house currently is so that they can build their branch office on it. You can imagine how well Maggie will take to the news, I'm sure.
Maggie's big secret is... to be honest, I have no idea what exactly this "secret" is. All I know is that at twenty, she had to undergo a surgery to remove her uterus. Maggie was diagnosed to be infected with HPV at nineteen and one year later she had to undergo a hysterectomy. That poor thing. Most women with HPV infection could develop cervical cancer within 10 to 20 years, so Maggie must have really received the short straw in the You're So Screwed lottery. She got the HPV from Dillon's buddy Sam, who seduced her one night. Since that day, she blames Dillon for - get this - not checking to make sure that Sam, that fellow, leaves the house before falling asleep and leaving Maggie to succumb to Sam's advances. I don't know what this "secret" is that caused Maggie to leave Jack all those years ago. Maybe it's because she slept with Sam before she met Jack?
The best part is, Maggie blames Dillon for not being there when she needed him after the operation just as she blames him for "giving her" the HPV. Is this woman insane? Did they remove her brain instead of her uterus in that surgery? The fact that Maggie ends up being an inadvertent Other Woman - Jack is thinking of settling down with another woman when this demented "Me! Me! Me! It's All About Me!" woman shows up again in his life - doesn't endear her any more to me.
Make no mistake, I recognize that under any other circumstances, I will love One Night In Boston. It can be a shamelessly manipulative story at times, but Ms Boniface's writing style is such that I can be easily persuaded to let her play me like a violin. The author takes the trouble to explain her characters' emotions so that I have a good idea what is happening inside her characters' heads. As a result, I find these characters pretty memorable. What I'm trying to say is that this book affects me, which is the reason why I grade this book pretty high despite my problem with the heroine.
The heroine is such an irritating creature. She's stupid, which is bad enough, but she is also very emotionally needy, irrational, and neurotic. She overreacts too often. Maggie is like this black hole that sucks all the joy from the people around her because she demands that they cater to her all the time. When a friend calls her and asks her how life is, she tells this friend that she is "surviving". She's that kind of person - everything has to be about her and she will make sure that everyone knows that. As a result, the other characters, especially poor Dillon, are brought down to her level as she makes them all mope and act all emo in response to her issues.
Therefore, while I can appreciate many things about One Night In Boston, my failure to appreciate one single thing about the supremely annoying heroine is a huge stumbling block in my appreciation of this story. File this one under "I would love this book to bits if the heroine dies in an explosive car crash by page 16".
This book at Amazon.com
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