by Karyn Monk, historical (2000, 1995 reissue)
Bantam, $5.99, ISBN 0-553-56909-0
The cover has a hunk that looks like Pierce Brosnan. Ooh, how can I resist? This book goes straight into my book bag. Then, three pages down, I frown. This book seems very familiar. Then I happen to scan my pile of old books and want to scream. There it is, hidden under a copy of Tom Clancy, is the 1995 edition of this book, costing $4.50 too! The bookmark is still there at page 133, reminding me that I can't finish this book first time around. Oooh! Let me stamp my foot first. Knew I should've bought that Naughty, Naughty anthology instead. Stomp! Stomp!
Now, I'm not letting my anger cloud my feelings - not much - when I say this book has one of the stupidest heroines I have ever read. Set Jacqueline Doucette loose to the highway with a bazooka, fifty grenades, a high-tech radar device, a bullet-protection vest, and she would still be run down by a truck.
The said woman is rescued from Madam Guillotine in the French Revolution by our hero Black Prince AKA Armand Something (can't catch his full name). Instead of being grateful, she complains that the inn she is hidden in is a hovel, she demands that Armand sleeps on the floor and she on the bed, she acts like a complete brainless idiot. She is never aware that she is rescued because of her noble blood - tell that to the peasants still rotting in the next cell, you dumb floozie - instead going around claiming that her nobility and privileges are God's will. I wonder if Marie Antoinette is her role model.
Then she puts it in her head to stay in France to have revenge instead of going back to England to be reunited with her sisters. Nice, but she lacks the brains to carry out her already half-baked plans. She escapes from Armand, gets mauled, screams Eeeek! Help me!, gets rescued by Armand, escapes again, gets mauled again... The rain goes onnnnn... on and on again.... Sorry, got carried away.
Armand must be suffering from a blow in the head, which is the only explanation I can think for his attraction to this troublesome disgrace to intelligent females everywhere. Jacqueline is more of a liability than an asset - the woman may as well wear a placard saying Dumb Aristo Alert! around her neck. Any sane man bent on heroic rescue missions would have ditched her like a hot sack of coals.
Saving graces of STAS include rich, detailed history and great atmosphere of fear and death in the madness of the Revolution. But let's face it, this is a romance, where characterization is vital. Jacqueline gets a big fat F stamped on her forehead.
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