by Rita Herron, contemporary (2001)
LoveSpell, $5.50, ISBN 0-505-52433-3
Oh, Marry Me, Maddie. It is an exasperating read, because while there are cute and memorable scenes here and there, this story is too busy trying very hard to be a Meg Ryan smoochy ha-ha story. Let's just say somewhere around the moon, this story made a wrong turn and it is lost in some distant whacked galaxy ever since.
Maddie Summers isn't a very smart woman. When her guy keeps her dangling with no promises of commitment, she decides to push him for an answer on national TV, on a daytime talk show. Every woman with at least one brain cell can tell you that forcing a commitment-shy man to jump the gun in public is only one step better than asking his mother to do it for you. Still, Mr Wrong turns out to be a pushy, insensitive brute (gee, what took her so long to see?) and now she decides to make a play for her brother's best friend Chase instead. Boy, that plot, that hero's name - Chase - and the kook factor. Is this the author's first book, or did she write too many category romances for the Harlequin Temptation line before her full-length debut?
So Maddie decides to meddle in Chase's life to get him to teach her to be "bad". No, maybe she wants to be bad by herself. When normal women want to go bad, they don that nice slinky dress and those fuck-me high heels, get a new hairdo, and dance the night away. Maddie makes it seem like a preparation for lobotomy. Of course she has a big family of overprotective brothers too, who alternate between staring aghast as Maddie dashes into another loony scheme or running for cover as Maddie interferes in their lives.
Not that Maddie is a complete loss. There are some glimpses that she may be just an indecisive, lovelorn lass who just needs space and time to bloom. Chase, however, is strictly the typical soap-category romance hero, who is an adamant bachelor for all the tired old reasons.
Marry Me, Maddie is an uneven story. I want to like it because it does have its charms, and Maddie is sometimes an interesting heroine. But all in all, this one is still trying too hard to fit in the kooky formula to actually go anywhere.
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