by Helen Mittermeyer, contemporary (1995)
Loveswept, $3.50, ISBN 0-553-44515-4
Neighbors Aaron Burcell and Dynasty Jones start off on the wrong foot when he charges into Honeysuckle Farm, her place, to demand the return of his racehorse, which had been missing all this while until his buddy traced the horse to her place. Dynasty is mistrustful of Aaron because the horse showed signs of abuse when she first found it, and also because he's from the big city and all "Suits" are, in her book, bloody damned bastards. The rest of the story deals with Aaron trying to wear down her defenses even as her past from the big city catches up with him.
Dynasty Jones is a familiar story of another big time city girl who fled that place after a Horrible Betrayal That Almost Destroyed Her to find sanctuary in a more rustic environment. It does have one thing that makes it stand out from other stories of this kind: the author peppers the story with details about the darker and shadier side of horse racing. Some of the details are not for the faint of heart, heh. Some of these details are presented in a rather shrill manner, often in the form of Dynasty nagging about these things or ranting about them in her mind, but I find the information presented interesting enough to compensate for the occasional lamentable method of delivery.
Dynasty Jones can be roughly divided into two parts. The first half of the story sees Dynasty acting like an abrasive and often irrational harpy, making sweeping judgments about men and displaying weird neurotic "I will die if I even entertain the idea of seeing a man" behavior typical of too many contemporary romance heroines. I have no idea why Aaron likes her. His constant blathering about how Dynasty is spirited and courageous feels too much like Ms Mittermeyer's attempts to convince me that Dynasty is something she's not. But once Dynasty warms up to Aaron, she becomes actually likable and there is some decent chemistry between her and Aaron. This is the second half of the story. This half is a standard romance and some suspense affair, nothing too exciting except for the fact that this half is so much better compared to the first half of the story.
Factoring in the annoying first half and the decent if forgettable second half, Dynasty Jones turns out to be a rather unspectacular offering. It's readable, nobody will suffer from nosebleed if forced to read this during a plane ride, but it's not going to make its mark on the world anytime soon.
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