The Fire Inside
by Kat Martin, historical (2002)
Pocket, $6.99, ISBN 0-7434-1915-4


The Fire Inside hopefully won't turn out to be the funeral pyre of Kat Martin's career, but I won't hold my breath. This book is a waste of time, period. When I think of the time I wasted on this book, time better used in, oh, cleaning my nostrils or clipping my toenails or even comparing the prices of tampons, I want to cry.

Twenty-five year old Kassandra "Kitt" Martin is a hellion. She spends her time gambling and losing money, running around consorting with European prostitutes (who are of course simple-minded misunderstood Virtue Pikachus), and whining that she wants to marry for love but oh, no man wants her for her intellect, just her money. Uh, what intellect? She just, like, hatehatehate Clayton Hartcourt, some bastard of a Duke, and I know because every time she sees him, she tells me she wants to slap him. How old is she again? 25? Uh, right.

In the search for a plot and a storyline, these two spend their time lusting (he) and running into trouble (she). In the first few chapters, we have Clayton staring at Kitt from upstairs "with a faint, mildly disturbing heaviness in his groin". I try to tell everybody, when guys start padding their undies, things just aren't the same anymore, but do they listen? Hah. Of course, Kitt, who wants to prove what a courageous woman she is, will play cards - how scandalous - with Clayton and lose ten thousand pounds. Never mind, the next time, she will wager more than money, how's that for intelligence? And predictability?

By the middle of the book, these two are still searching for a storyline and a plot. Hopefully, if they bicker like kids a bit longer, Kat Martin will finally get a clue. Oh yeah, what better than a marriage, right? Dum, dum, dum, dum, here comes the bride. But gee, aren't marriages like, well, the last page thing? Well, no problem, Pocket, Ms Martin here knows how to pad up the next few hundred pages, no problem, so don't start suing for a refund of that advance you gave her yet, no siree, because look, Clayton has this thing about not wanting to marry, so let's put in a Big Misunderstanding!

Good idea. After all, it's just right in character - she's dumb, he's dumb, they're ripe for a big misunderstanding. Coming up? Mass extinction. Uh, no, romance novels must have happy ending, usually with the epilogue showing that these two are breeding like rabbits. Times like this, humanity deserves all the brickbat they get. Anyway, what does the first thing Clayton do when he decides to misunderstand his dumb wife? Find another woman! Hell, yeah, all women are bitches yes? And trust his nasty friends stupidly too, friends who for some reason want to get their grubby paws on Kitty here. Everyone's rather dumb today, huh?

Prediction? A mass stampede just like the refugees at the Afghan-Pakistan borders, fleeing this brainfree rubbish. The Fire Inside, huh? What a joke.

Rating: 16


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