Beautiful Dreamer
by Celine Chatillon, contemporary (2008)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-431-5


Starling County seems like a small town because everyone seems to know everyone from way back. Therefore, it is not surprising that Marianne Chalmers' insomnia is known to quite a number of folks, including the sheriff Cody Greene. When he checks up on her one night in the library - she's the head librarian - he finds her behaving as if he's a knight who has come to her rescue-cum-ravishing and somehow manages to sustain his erection to go all the way with her despite some of the most awful corny lines coming from her. I mean, seriously. "If thou will unsheathe thy sword, I will gladly remove my own garment. Thy lady cannot wait any longer." What has Marianne been reading before she experiences her sleepwalking-dream thing? Some Sasha Lord bodice rippers?

When she drank a sleeping tonic given by a friend the night before, poor Marianne has no idea that it will turn her into a parody of a Medieval Café waitress. I personally can't imagine how a woman would not realize that she'd had sex recently, especially when Cody just took her back to her home without cleaning her up or anything, but I suppose Marianne is one of those amazing romance heroines who can have sex and still remain floral-scented and fresh-feeling despite having screamed in orgasm while rolling around the floor most enthusiastically with some guy. Therefore, Marianne only has vague recollections of some kind of sex dream episode during her sleep.

At any rate, as former committed bachelor Cody tries to decide whether he's willing to hang up his player hat to woo Marianne, strange things begin to happen in town, most of them involving cattle behaving badly.

Beautiful Dreamer is... I don't know. I suspect strongly that the author deliberately made her story to turn out the way it did, but what the story turned out to be, for me, is not even close to being funny. I find the punchlines here to be more affected than genuinely humorous. The characters speak as if they are trying too hard to come off like characters in a sitcom. In other words, I feel that the author is trying so hard to be funny that her brand of humor ends up eluding me completely. I also can't help feeling that this book feels dated in a way that I can't really define. Maybe it's the way the hero keeps calling the heroine "Marianne Librarian" or the way she's supposed to be this fragile-looking woman while he's this big giant of man. There are many aspects of this story that feel more at home in a Harlequin series romance that came out in the 1980s.

I don't know. This story is a conceptual comedy as much as it is a romance, and because I don't appreciate the brand of humor that is strongly woven throughout the story, I fail to appreciate the story as a result. Of course, with humor being so subjective from person to person, who knows, you may like this one better than me. There are some interesting ideas here, it's just that the execution of the story doesn't appeal to me.

Rating: 51


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