Falling For Chloe
by Diane Farr, regency (2000)
Signet, $4.99, ISBN 0-451-20004-7
When I read that Diane Farr is an actress, I thought - wow, the luminous Diane Farr of The Job and Roswell writing regencies? Then I discovered this author's website and I realize, dang, it's not that Diane Farr.
I finally found this book after a week's rampage through the bookstores in town because this book is the prequel of The Fortune Hunter, and the hero of The Fortune Hunter, George "Hot Hot HOT!" Carstairs is the best thing since ice-cream sex (don't ask). George plays second fiddle in Falling For Chloe, but he steals the show - no, he not only steals the show, he runs away with Falling For Chloe. Of course, while there's no such bad thing as too much George Carstairs, there's no denying that Falling For Chloe is populated by boring characters in a spectacularly unoriginal story, even for a story in a genre where every author is trying to be Georgette Heyer or Jane Austen, word by word, brick by brick.
Chloe, the brown cow, is our usual countrified intelligent heroine.
This means of course that she spends her money all on charity, lets Daddy walk all over her even as she knows it (well, at least she knows it, I guess), and has no self-preservation instincts. Everything is about making everybody happy, you know, so that her conscience can rest easy. Virtue Pikachus. Gotta stomp those buggers to extinction, if you ask me. Gotta kill 'em all!
Ahem. She has a guy who's her Mr Knightley. That's Sil' Gilly, who, on a good day, is known as Sylvester Gililand. They are so like brothers and sisters, right? Well, until they chit chat about some boring save-the-people nonsense, spend some time together enclosed in a closed space to escape the rain, and end up being discovered together. Ding dong bell.
Then they go to London, where Chloemma and Gilknightley try to figure out what to do. In the meantime, Chloemma hooks up with Gilknightley's sister, Tishjanefairfax, who is flirting fast and loose with Georgefrank Carstairschurchill. Ooh, Georgefrank Carstairschurchill flirts with Chloemma too, but let's face it, the author makes it so clear from the beginning that Chloemma is unable to feel anything remotely sensual unless it's Gilknightley who's doing the sensual prodding, there's no suspense there. Just me, wanting to swoop in and save Frank, I mean, George away from this boring tale and to a deserted island where I will teach that man what a bad, bad rake ought to do to hapless, quivering women like me.
Predictable, too predictable, that even Diane Farr's very nice sense of rhythm and language cannot save this book from being labeled as "Very Obviously Unoriginal". Pleasant, yes, but really, George steals the show, puts it under lock and key, and pinches my bum while he's at it. Okay, the last is just my wishful thinking, but seriously, the dull brown cows in this story can't hold a candle to George. It's so nice that George gets his own story, a more deserving one at that in The Fortune Hunter. Now, Ms Farr, put away those Austen and Heyer books and write something that comes out of your own head, okay? You're probably too good to even try to be a third-rate Austen wannabe.
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