The Bliss
by Jacqueline Navin, historical (2003)
Jove, $6.50, ISBN 0-515-13466-X


Words fail me in describing what a ridiculous mess Jacqueline Navin's latest book is. Where words fail, maybe my piercing scream of agony and anguish over wasted time on this book will do the trick. Cover your ears people, I'm a very bad-tempered reader after finishing this book.

The Bliss is a triple-decker nutcase sandwich: it is filled with plot contradictions (shame on the editor as well as the author!), the heroine is a too stupid to live moron with an extra 'o' in the 'too stupid to live' part, and the plot is beyond belief.

Morgan Gage is called the "Wicked Earl of Waring" because people say that he murdered his father. (Yeah, the best thing they can come up with for a murderer is "Wicked Earl", how nice.) Morgan is now back in town and he plans to clear his name by kidnapping his stepmother Gloriana (please don't ask). He accidentally kidnaps our heroine Leah Brodie instead. Lucky him, Leeyucks here is already in love with him, having stalked him at a ballroom a few months back - a ball that Morgan could not have possibly attended, since he will tell Leeyucks a few chapters later that he was out of the country during the time the ball was held, but there he was, at the ballroom... let's just say Ms Navin probably lost the definition of 'continuity' in her personal dictionary sometime after the prologue is finished.

Leeyucks yells at him a lot of things, such as threatening to cut off his balls, even when she has no idea what a man's balls are. Yes, this is the type of heroine who thinks it is cute to yell cusswords she has no understanding of, only to go into a meltdown when she realizes that a man's balls refer to his testicles. But she will later tell everybody that the hero is a honorable man (his kidnapping her notwithstanding), and this is after she had raised a hissyfit when he kissed her. This is a heroine who will want to seduce the hero by wearing a tight corset to the point that she almost asphyxiate herself, only to run away weeping when he asks her if she wants to seduce him. And then when he kisses her and more, she will tell him how despicable he is to... to.. do that thing to her. Then when he stops, she will fly into a pity party because he must find her so repulsive to stop playing with her like that. Leeyucks embodies the worst of the Creepy Little Girl With A Crush On An Older Man stereotypes - brainless, does stupid things and wails ungratefully when the hero saves her ass, teases the hero into making out with her, and then yells at the hero for daring to make out with her - and she's not even funny while she's at it.

In short, Leeyucks is a psycho nitwit Miss Thing who can be amusing only in a romance novel where a child-like woman throws insane tantrums and act stupid and be loved for it. I wait until the bitter end for Leeyucks to do something that requires her brain to work for once, but no. If she isn't dead, raped, or sold off to some slave market, it's because she's just lucky and someone up there takes special care of village idiots.

The plot? Apparently Leeyucks is ruined forever because she poured souffle over a nasty suitor. Yup, she is Ruined Forever because of that public display. Our hero Moron asks her to pretend to be his girlfriend, that way they can both find respectability. At this point, you could have brain me until my skull crack but I still will not see how getting engaged to a suspected murderer will restore Leeyucks' reputation. Maybe it's a Regency thing. And isn't Moron supposed to be a pariah? The next scene after these two decide to play at being courting sweethearts sees Leeyucks poring over invitations for them at the best balls in town. How on earth did Moron get invited? Don't tell me it takes just a show of fake courtship to be popular again?

Plot holes? Let's just say that in this book, Moron's mother dies twice at two different years and leave it at that. Any resemblence to continuity is such that if you do find continuity, the continuity is the anomaly, not the norm, in this story.

Poor Moron. His plans may be imbecilic, but no man deserves to be saddled with an insane, survival-skill free, moronic social nuisance like Leeyucks Brodie here. Since he finds this imbecile hot, I guess he asks for it. In the end, he is completely pussywhipped like the wuss he is, having to chase after Leeyucks as she does her Tomfoolery Hour show just to clean up her mess.

Oh, and The Bliss is what Leeyucks calls an orgasm.

If there's anyone having bliss in this story, it's definitely not me. The Bliss is a dud. Stupid heroine is one thing - maybe some readers will find Leeyucks the insane prima donna charming - but there are just no excuses for lack of continuity and shoddy plotting, are there?

Rating: 07


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