Racing To Ruin
by Stacy Brown, historical (2001)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-6999-5


Racing To Ruin could have described the speed at which this story plunges into nonsensical farce. It's a standard tale of virginal bluestocking seeking to ruin herself with a rake to avoid marriage plot. This time, there isn't even an unpleasant old bastard suitor in sight, so we can rule out putting Sabrina Bennett in the same sentence as intelligent.

Racing To Ruin is bad, atrociously so. But sometimes a book is so bad that it becomes perversely brilliant. Some of the things the characters do are things nobody sane would do, and to see them being rewarded when in reality they should be left for dead in some dark corners... I can't help but to wonder if it's all a funny joke.

The rake in question is Hunter Lancaster. Yes, when I first see him, it's in a gratuitous boink-dump-your-mistress jolly scene. The irony is me supposed to believe he's a great catch for the heroine after his callous treatment of his mistress - not pretty, trust me. And get this: when he agrees to ruin her, Sabrina declares that he is the most honorable man alive and promptly falls in love. I don't know whether to laugh at her stupidity or put my head on the table and sob at the badness of it all.

Put in a ridiculously overwrought and bitchy mistress (any sane woman roughly manhandled and jilted by our "Great Catch" Hunter will know to pack up and move on, but not this mad woman), even more ludicrous subplots, and a heroine whose character doesn't just border on stupidity, she redefines the term, and Racing To Ruin is definitely a prophetic title. But the author does all these ridiculous lunacy of her story in such an over-the-top manner that I can't help but to be charmed. It's bad, and it's hysterically funny at the same time.

"I have been thinking - "

He cocked a dubious brow. "Have you indeed?"

My sentiments exactly, Hunter.

Rating: 53


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