One Wish
by Linda Lael Miller, historical (2000)
Pocket, $6.99, ISBN 0-671-53786-5


I haven't read that many Linda Lael Miller books, although I really enjoyed Taming Charlotte. Her first vampire book is pretty okay if cliché-ridden, but the vampire series become increasingly ridiculous and oversexed. It is with little expectation that I open One Wish with. And while it did entertain me - OW is a pretty fine-paced Western adventure - the hero and heroine make me see red.

Luke Shardlow, fast gun and great bounty hunter (too bad about the IQ), is back in Jubilee to nab his own brother who is wanted for murder. In the town also is our heroine Charity Barnham, whom he rescued eleven years back from drowning. Charity has offered him one wish then, but Luke is forced to leave town before he gets to collect it. Lucky girl.

Charity, a pampered rich woman, is engaged to marry a man she doesn't love (of course). She loves her father and he her, but the overbearing man will cut her off if she doesn't marry the nice, sensitive, kind brotherly man his father chooses for her. She loves another - oh, that mean, deliberately cruel (because he feels unworthy of her, you see), and obnoxious Luke.

Too bad about her IQ.

I mean, Charity, unfortunately generic name notwithstanding, is actually a great heroine. She slowly gets a backbone to confront her father and tells the man that she wants a say in her life. Good for her. It's just too bad that she's mush where Luke is concerned.

And Luke. I'll try to be - Take that! Thonk! And that! Wham! Thunk! Tonk! Crash! Bang! - nice and not call names, but that man is an idiot. Oh, she's too good for him, so he acts nasty and mean and calls her names, and then gets all torn up when she tears up. That's fine if the man actually sticks to his resolution and then keep away, but no, the moment Charity shows a bit of skin, it's pawing time. Then the man would go back to his stupid nonsense, leaving the poor gal all confused.

Even worse, the man does a lot of stupid things that put Charity's life in danger. He knows the identity of the villian, but conveniently forgets to tell her. Of course, maybe saving a woman in a Grand Finalé is a nice way to make up for his stupidity, but really Luke, it's easier to just give her a bouquet of roses. Luke is nothing more than a big, sulky baby. I hope Charity remembers to bring the Pampers along their honeymoon.

Rating: 52


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