One Wilde Night
by Stacy Brown, historical (2000)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-6728-3


This premise of Stacy Brown's story is pretty similar to Karen Ranney's 1998 novel Upon A Wicked Time, but it has an edge where I'm concerned with it actually showing the penultimate emotional breakdown of moron Brandon Wilde, the Earl of Marlborough. But it fumbles in depicting Brandon as an intelligent man - he still comes off as thick as a Kevlar vest and as fun as sitting on a hedgehog.

Olivia Parker is not happy when her father sells her off to marriage to bankrupt Wilde. It's a title-for-money exchange, and Olivia must be pretty mad at the whole triteness of the premise as well as her lack of say in the matter. She is even more mad when she finds herself attracted to Wilde, has a jolly good wedding night, and wakes up to find that the moron has returned to London.

Never mind, she follows him there.

Sounds very similar to the Ranney book huh? It is, but only in the premise. Olivia tries to make Wilde love her, but she knows when to stop and try to find love somewhere else, and she really tries in the latter. I love this lady, she is no lachrymose doormat. Upon gaining power as a Countess, she uses it to toss her overbearing father out of her life. Cool or what?

It is pretty heartbreaking to see her wallowing in unrequited love and lust for an unworthy man. Ms Brown, who used to write for the now belly-up Scarlet line, makes a misstep, however, by making Wilde succumbing to the, er, charms of one of the worst Alexis Carrington clone of a mistress. Trust me, that doesn't say much for his state of braininess. Yeah, he has a lousy childhood - doesn't everyone in romance novels? - but that doesn't excuse his bad taste in female companionship. Besides, it makes it rather unbelievable that this man would fall for a Olivia when he has displayed for so long a tendency to judge his women by their bra cup size.

Still, the author doesn't use the moron Wilde's childhood as an excuse for Liv to forgive and forget. Wilde does break down finally, crumpling like the pathetic Peter Pan he is towards the end, and boy, all is forgiven at that moment. My blood pressure on the rise - scratch that, nothing beats a dumb mule's good grovel.

I still think Liv is too good for him, but she knows it too. All in all, One Wilde Night tells of a rather remarkable woman's finding of love. A pity somewhat that she finds it in a stereotypical rake with little sense of humor, but I trust she knows when to walk out should the moron acts up again in the future.

I really enjoyed One Wilde Night and the heroine's character. It can use some polishing in the hero department, but it's pretty good as it is.

Rating: 87


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