by Penelope Neri, historical (2003)
Leisure, $5.99, ISBN 0-8439-5081-1
There is a scary monster terrorizing Ireland, and it's Caitlynn O'Connor as she bumbles, bungles, and really acts like a moron as she tries to solve the mystery of her missing cousin by getting employed in the suspected murderer Dr Donovan Fitzgerald's home as the companion of the irritating daughter Estelle. Since this is a gothic romance, thunder crashes, lightning flashes, our heroine acts like a frantic idiot as she wonders whether the man whose hands are slipping up her blouse is the killer or worse, and don't forget the ever popular Evil Slut theme.
Cait, from her name to her dunce behavior, is a stereotype, right down to her mistrust of men after losing a faithless man in her past. Halfway through, attracted so wildly to the man she believes to be her missing cousin Deirdre's lover/maybe-murderer, she actually gets jealous of Dierdre, believe it or not. Like her brainpower, her priorities run all over the place, and all ways lead down the drain. Donovan is another stereotype - dark, broody, and angst-ridden really unnecessarily. Instead of telling Cait things, he will just puff up in Byronesque tormented silence until the buttons of his pants pop open for the jolly rogering.
Obsession doesn't quite transcend badness to attain the status of pure prime cheesy goodness, so unfortunately, this book doesn't deliver much, not even in terms of unintentional comedy. Maybe a check-in into Wendy Burge's College of Overblown Cheeseball Fun Storytelling is in order.
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