The Love Potion
by Sandra Hill, contemporary (1999)
LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52349-3


Should Sandra Hill succeed in blending her special brand of wit and humor with a substantial plot, her romances will be simply excellent. Her latest, The Love Potion sags in the middle, much like a hammock bearing a five hundred pound sleeping gorilla. And while the Cajun hero is irresistible (if a bit too similar to all her other contemporary heroes for comfort), the heroine is annoying. Both characters are caricatures, of course, but while the former is a fun, sexy caricature, the latter is as fun as listening to a kettle whistle for six hours straight.

The heroine, Dr Sylvie Fontaine, is a scientist who dabbles in creating a love potion. She succeeds in creating what she calls Jelly Bean Fix (JBX) that makes rats fall in love and procreate voraciously. Now, will it work on humans? Enters our hero with the sexiest hips this side of the bayou. Lucien LeDeux is a bad boy that has been pestering uptown girl Sylvie since they were 12 and Sylvie rejected him in a dance meet. He needs her to analyze a specimen of polluted water (some petrochemical company is polluting the water). While teasing her, he spies some nice jelly beans on a plate and... yum yum.

Sylvie screams and tries to gouge out his eyes but too late. Luc now gets a perpetual need (that's putting it mildly) to answer the call of his hormones gone overdrive. If that's not a nuisance enough, someone is rummaging through Sylvie's things for the JBX formula, someone is trying to kill them to stop the pollution thing from coming public, and worst, Luc's Tante Lulu is matchmaking them both.

Bad day is definitely the understatement of the year.

What can I say? I laugh non-stop; The Love Potion is a rollercoaster ride of witty repartees, nonsensical pillow talk, and funny-yet-oh-so-naughty innuendos from Luc.

Thing is, things really drag in the middle. Luc and Sylvie hole up in the bayou, where Sylvie's insecurity surfaces full force to almost swamp the whole story down. Born in a family of voracious overachievers, poor shy Sylvie wants to keep up but oh dear, she can't! She really can't! Does she love Luc? Does Luc love her? Is she pretty to Luc? Why is she so jealous over Luc? she goes on and on and on like a complete twit.

This woman is a scientist? Uhm, where did she leave her brain behind?

Miss Hill has the talent and panache to write really great stories. So what if her heroes are a one-note sexy, sexy, sexy (and little else) oversexed stud? The author keeps her heroes fun and hot so I don't mind the repetitious heroes (yet). But the heroines! Sylvie is another vintage Hill heroine - insecure, whiny, insecure, self-pitying, and insecure.

Grand comedy can't hide the fact that the author should really take time to flesh out her main characters more and please, no more sagging middles! The Love Potion has more meat in the plot, but it is still lightweight when it comes to satisfying this reader completely.

Rating: 81


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