Noble Intentions
by Katie MacAlister, historical (2002)
Leisure, $5.99, ISBN 0-8439-4965-1


This is a screwball Regency historical romance. And the last sentence is a nice way of saying that this is a romance where the heroine burns things, owns a pack of rowdy dogs that mess up everything, destroys things, and talks hee-hee and whopee and you, the reader, are supposed to nod and giggle instead of wondering why the heck can't heroine Gillian Leigh practice some restrain and respect other people's rights to enjoy an environment free from a public nuisance. The world is Gillian's accidental arson pit, and it's supposed to be funny.

Or maybe she's half-American, so I'm supposed to go "Aah!" because we all know American girls are so much livelier and reckless than their British counterparts.

But seriously, Noble Intentions is hilarious in a creepy way.

The hero, Noble Britton (hahahaha - seriously, hahahahaha), is a sad man, because his dead wife is a bitch, slut, whore, et cetera. Poor man. He's supposed to be this powerful rake, but awww, he is tortured by his dead wife's memories. Awww. So go slut around, Noble, because we all forgive you. It's all the Dead Whore's fault. Noble, you go! Get syphilis with our blessings, because we love you, you are our Mighty Romance Hero. Your Dancing Dong is an inspiration to us all, we breaking into ABBA's chorus, "You are the Dancing Dong, young and free, only seventeen (uhm, inches?)!"

But he has a kid, Nick, who, like all kids of these kind of novels, don't speak since Slut Momma died. It's all Slut Momma's fault that Dancing Dong is a lousy father, because we know Dancing Dong needs time to dong the memories of the dead wife away. Take as long as you want, Dancing Dong, take ten years, twenty, because you are Dancing Dong, young and free, et cetera.

Gillian understands. She understands that after an amazing wedding night (how did she know?), Dancing Dong leaves her, she understands. She understands when she finds Dancing Dong chained in his mistress' place, because romance heroines don't think "How dare he does bondage sex without me!" but only peace and understanding. Because Dancing Dong is young and free, et cetera.

Gillian is one of those psychotically perky heroines who will always understand Dancing Dong no matter what, until he finally breaks down in exhaustion and submits to whatever Gillian wants. When that happens, he's still haunted by that Slut Momma's memories, but again, Gillian understands because he's the Dancing Dong, young and free, et cetera.

See the theme here? Gillian understands everything, and she will do her best to make Dancing Dong see that. She will be his best wife and mistress and lover ever, even if she has to burn down buildings by accident and mows down innocent old people in her way. And sad to say, I'm not exaggerating about that burning thing. Whatever Dancing Dong does to cut her down, Gillian isn't fazed. Like those froggy things in those games where you take this plastic hammer and whack those bopping froggy things again and again for fun, Gillian may get knocked down, but she'll get up again, just like that Chumbawamba song. You know that song, Tubthumper? It goes like this: "I get knocked down, but I get up again, you ain't never gonna get me down, I get knocked down, but I get up again, you ain't never gonna get me down, I get knocked down, but I get up again, you ain't never gonna get me down, I get knocked down, but I get up again, you ain't never gonna get me down, I get knocked down, but I get up again, you ain't never gonna get me down, I get knocked down, but I get up again, you ain't never gonna get me down, I get knocked down, but I get up again, you ain't never gonna get me down, I get knocked down, but I get up again, you ain't never gonna get me down, I get knocked down, but I get up again, you ain't never gonna get me down..."

As for Dancing Dong, whatever misunderstandings, whatever arrogant acts he commits, he will make it up to Gillian Tubthumper here. How? Sex, of course. The sex is pretty good, by the way. He isn't the Dancing Dong, young and free, et cetera for nothing.

But I wish, for once, that Gillian Tubthumper will stop grinning in that scary, perky way, and L-A-S-H out at her arrogant Dancing Dong for once. That's why Amanda Quick's Scandal is a keeper for me: the heroine seems like Tubthumper II at first, but that amazing scene where she lashes out at her arrogant hubby, throwing him off-guard with the true depths of the bitterness that lies underneath her Tubthumper facade, now that one makes the heroine a most interesting character, convinces me that her husband will never take her for granted so easily again, and redeems both hero and heroine in one swoop. No such luck in Noble Intentions, and I know all that tubthumping on Gillian's part can't be normal. She must be a serial killer in the making inside.

Katie MacAlister has an easy voice that brims with wit and fun, at least in some of the better scenes in this book. But for too long, she concentrates on the screwball part, and Noble Intentions is rather scary as a result. Gillian - she's a psycho arsonist, and nobody can convince me otherwise. If this book is fun, it's because of its unintentional macabre vibes.

Rating: 77


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