by Laura Lynn Leffers, contemporary (1999)
Electric Umbrella, $6.00, ISBN 0-9671113-5-8
Spoilers are present in this review
I don't know about anyone else, but when a man leaves me pregnant and then disappears, only to reappear decades later with a "Big hug, baby. Still feel it between us? Let's get back together!", my answer would be on his face the sole of the boot I was wearing while trampling on elephant dung. Our heroine Quintessa McQueen or Tess, upon seeing Carrey, suddenly realizes it is he she is in love with all along, not her husband Tom. Give me a break.
Carrey's excuse is that he's a Vietnam War vet who isn't right in the head. Okay, so he can be somewhat given a second chance, but that doesn't mean the author should make things easy for them both by getting rid of Tom by turning him into the convenient villian, right? That's so stupid a cop-out.
I know Tom is the bad guy because:
(a) Tess' (and Carrey's) daughter Carrie doesn't accept Tom but she accepts Carrey. We all know teenage girls are the best judges of character.
(b) Tess' whole family doesn't accept Tom even though Tom has been offering her security, home, and shelter for years. When your heart beats triple time, it is okay to forget gratitude and loyalty. In the words of Austin Powers, let's shag baby! Why did she marry Tom in the first place then?
(c) Tess doesn't feel the it with Tom that she feels with Carrey. Let's shag baby! Ooh behave!
Quite contrived, really.
Out Of The Blue is a prophetic title. When Carrey is looking for Tess (half of the book), he meets many old friends that pop, well, out of the blue and disappear soon after, never to be heard again. Out of the blue, the villian is discovered to be the villian, and out of the blue, Tess suddenly decides she loves Carrey and turns her back on Tom.
It is one thing to give a repentant man a second chance, but to be so cold and withdrawn to the husband who has been giving her a home for years, and to revert her loyalty to a man who isn't her husband in a blink of an eye is simply tasteless. Tess comes off as an ungrateful, wishy-washy, and emotionally unstable woman. Her new husband has better watch his back.
Carrey spends too much time alternating between self-pity and "I know you still love me!" arrogance to be likable. Tess is simply unlikable as a heroine. So what else is there?
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