Swept Away
by Marsha Canham, historical (1999)
Dell, $6.50, ISBN 0-440-23521-9


Some women have all the luck. Whenever I go to the beach, all that's washed up are soggy shoes. Annaleah Fairchild gets to find a hunky piratey cutie-pie in see-thru underwear. Life isn't fair. I've peered until my eyes are sore but bummer, the cute guy in the stepback art isn't wearing see-thru undies. When are these artists going to depict accurate scenes in a novel, eh?

Annaleah has refused to marry a suitor whom she is sure to be unkind and lacks good humor, hence her parents have banished her to stay with eccentric Great-aunt Florence in the rundown Widdicombe House. They hope that she will go crazy out of boredom in a week and will be glad to marry Lord Barrimore after her confinement. What do parents know?

The stranger shows signs of being badly tortured, and when he regains consciousness, he has no recollection of who he is or why he is the state he is. Florence, however, recognizes him - he is Emory Althrope, who used to keep her company when he was a boy. And Emory is a wanted man for aiding Napoleon escape from Elba. Florence doesn't believe this man could do such a thing, and with the cooperation Anna and Emory's brother - the vicar - has Emory hidden from the law until he recovers. For, you see, Napoleon's ship, en route to St Helena, is docking at the same area. Needless to say, the area is swarming with government folks and law enforcers.

In desperation to clear his name and find out who he is and whether he is really a traitor, Emory ends up kidnapping Anna along to keep the law back a few paces. Anna isn't too unhappy to be kidnapped, as you can guess.

This book is definitely fun. I have an exciting time, reading in bated breath the exciting chases and near-captures and high-derring-do's. Emory is definitely Sex On Legs, while Anna is his worthy match. How did they say it? Oh yes, I like! I like!

I also adore Great-aunt Florence and the many wonderfully colorful characters that bring this story to life. This book is definitely high adventure and great humor at its best. Indeed, it only convinces me further than no one can write swashbuckling fun like Ms Canham.

Yet I must say this book misses my keeper shelf this close because of the rather annoyingly bad timing of the characters. The ladies have just nicely closeted an unconscious Emory in the spare room when lookee-here, look who comes visiting but everyone in the neighborhood. Emory and Anna kiss... whoops, sorry, but here comes Florence and the staff! They are about to indulge in some heavy-duty kiss when over there, oh no, isn't that Barrimore coming? And when they are about to do some heavy petting, wow, here comes Florence and company again. And finally, they do it, but whatever multiple orgasms they set out to attain is cut short to a measly one when who has to drop by but... you get the idea. While I'm sure Emory and Anna are grateful that on their wedding night no royal band break through the door, surround the bed, and play an andante version of God Save The Queen, I'm quite sure no one can be this bad when it comes to timing like the characters in Swept Away. And when the whole story moves because of people interrupting Emory and Anna in crucial moments, the whole story seems suspiciously like it's running out of steam.

And, my, isn't it convenient that Anna's troubles and Emory's are lumped together in one nice parcel that is gotten rid off in one fell swoop by the end?

Too much coincidences, bad timing, and premature coitus interruptus are really bad for a romance. Spoils my enjoyment somewhat.

Rating: 83


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