by Alice Chambers, historical (2000)
Leisure, $4.99, ISBN 0-8439-4682-2
Taming Angelica, if I have my way, would be called Locking Angelica in the Loony Bin with A Bunch Of Singing Teletubbies and Throwing Away The Key. The author seems to be trying to please everybody with her heroine. Angelica is shrill, overly impulsive, reads suffragette tract and preaches regardless of situation or circumstances, but hey, she is also innocent, virtuous, insecure, and readily plunges the story into Big Misunderstanding territory.
Trying to create a Camile Paglia-Wilma Flintstone hybrid heroine isn't easy. The author bungles the effort up, causing the whole story to be yet another average story with an average hero and a really irritating heroine who obviously needs to grow a brain.
Angelica Hamilton wants to be the next Charles Darwin. It is her fondest dream to visit Galapagos and Tierra del Fuego to see for herself the giant turtles and explore the divergent evolution of finches that Drawin has written in his The Origin Of Species... book. But too bad, she has no ready money for the trip.
Since she's also a motormouth who blabs about her feminist theory everywhere and anywhere without subtlety much less diplomacy, no man would want to even get near her, much less wed her. Her father sends her to plague the men in London.
Will Claridge too has a dream. He wants to own the best stables in England. But to do so, he needs money. Angelica stands to inherit pots and truckloads of money. So will she marry him?
Angelica wants him to steal her jewelery for her so that she can hock them and go see the giant tortoises. He wants to compromise her so that she will marry him.
But when they are married... oh well, let's just say she suddenly doesn't trust the man she offers liberties to with her body fifty pages earlier, and instead trusting - stupidly, I may add - the transparent villain. All in the name of Creating A Plot, I guess. While that may help the author meet her word count, Angelica's shrill, shrewish, and ultimately clueless behavior becomes tedious. And her schizophrenic characterization only adds to the headache.
But hey, I like Aunt Minnie. Why can't this story be about Taming Miss Minnie, I will never know. Life sure gives you the short stick when you're not young and beautiful.
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