Beautiful Dreamer
by Elizabeth Lowell, contemporary (2001)
Avon, $7.99, ISBN 0-380-81876-0


Hope Gardner gave up the catwalk for the scorching arid ranch of Valley of the Sun. That's a vintage romance heroine type for you. Who wants to bask in the sun and spend five minutes on the catwalk for a zillion bucks for a few hours' work, when you could toil and suffer like a noble heroine? She also needs water. She dreams of water. She wants water.

Hey, virile hot hunk Rio has plenty of water.

Just kidding. But he is just what Hope needs. Together, they will find water for the barren Valley. Oh water, where art thou? Is Hope the oxygen to Rio's hydrogen? Can you guess I am writing this at late in the evening after a hard day's work (yes, I am working again - but enough about me, on with the review.)

Beautiful Dreamer is actually a rewritten version of 1985's Valley Of The Sun. One thing though, it doesn't make me want to bang my head against the wall, even if it has a 15-year old age tag to it. Hope may be an overdone quiet, long-suffering, abuse survivor with drop dead modelesque beauty, but she is actually pretty sympathetic. Rio is a macho baddo type, who speaks in overwrought testosterone-spewing dramatics, but while his "Can't love you because I don't have anything to give up" crap can be trying on the nerves, he doesn't make the BS-meter hit overdrive either. He may have been hurt before by an ex you'll find only in romance novels, but okay, maybe he deserves a hug too.

There is a lot of cowboy BS angst, like how only the worthy women are those who will give up all their luxury to live with their men in some backward, smelly, dry ranch. Where real men swagger with real machismo and ooze real angst designed to make weak women weep and go "Aww, take me, baby! Take my modern toilet bowl and modem away, just let me pump the water pump in the morning and squat over the creek behind our lovely (if electricity-dodgy and insect-infested and horse-smelling) ranch. Who needs water! I'll just lick the sweat off your muscular work-sculpted boh-deee!"

You like those fantasies? Knock yourself out, Beautiful Dreamer is actually a really good take on the Marlboro Man fantasy. I kinda like this one, even if the exaggerated dramatics can make my eyes roll up at times. Still, I'm glad I have a nice, clean, modern toilet. Hope can keep his man, I love my Playstation and PC more than anything Ms Lowell wants to sell in Beautiful Dreamer.

Rating: 85


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