Catch Of The Day
by Marica Evanick, contemporary (2002)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-7241-4


It's the same old story: author finally writes a full-length contemporary after years of toiling as a slave to the series romance industry, but like Pavlov's dogs, her fingers keep moving over the keyboard in an instinctual need to churn out more stereotypes and tired plot devices. It's a sad, sad story.

This is a small-town romance. A town that has happy, middle-class Republicans who live simply and for matchmaking (yet somehow they live in these big and luxurious houses), but at the same time, they have no problem patronizing the heroine's upscale, "cute" restaurant. There's no pizza parlors - only evil liberal college kids eat pizzas, doncha know - but they have their own newspaper. Maybe they even have their own website, sort of like The Free Republic's bastard sister, but the author doesn't really mention that though.

This town is short of women, unless we count those dotty, hell-bent-on-matchmaking hags, but we have tons of handsome bachelors. No doubt a series is in the works down the road, and maybe even a bachelor auction or two. I wonder whether Ms Evanick still see the Harlequin logo hiding in the shadows of her bedroom and waiting to pounce, that poor gal.

Our heroine, Gwen Fletcher buys a restaurant in this happy town and becomes the town's pet project. She has her eyes on Daniel Creighton, who divorced a faithless woman who couldn't stand his scar. But Gwen, who doesn't feel confident in her own abilities because her family never shower enough love and affection on her, doesn't want a man, she just wants to hump the walls of her restaurant. Daniel, superhero blue-collar Content Middle Class Plebian, who builds his own house and has the town rallying behind him when he divorced that Faithless Woman - take that, you whiny, clingy, government-aid-guzzling liberal crap - will be patient, however, as he tolerates Gwen's crap way more than any sane man would take.

Oh yes, that Faithless Woman. She's back for more punishment. Never let it be said that anyone who wronged the hero will get away unscathed. There's also an old coot named Hunter, Bunter, or something (lemme check - it's Hunter) who provides the obligatory Vietnam War Hero ramblings (take that, you whiny draft-dodging coke-snorting college liberal kids, where are your anti-Vietnam protest blusters now, eh?) and Senior Citizen love.

I love this story. It makes mediocrity so easy to attain. Or something. Now excuse me, I need to sleep off my ennui.

Rating: 56


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