Priceless Gift
by Celeste O Norfleet, contemporary (2002)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-330-0


I just adore the cover of this book. The heroine looks really happy at being kissed like that, and her wide smile is infectious. I find myself grinning just looking at it. I wish the story within the covers is as funny and abandoned as the beautiful cover.

Priceless Gift is my least favorite kind of story. Readers who love stories of women-hating heroes being fought over by what seems like every ho in the country and her skank mother and our heroine will love this story. Me, I wish there is a way to look away from the gouged eyeballs and ripped-out hair extensions. Maybe men will love this kind of stories too. After all, mud wrestling is popular, isn't it?

Madison Evans is a professor who hates all men. Why? She slaved for this jerk, wrote the books he published under his name and became famous for it, and then she discovered him shagging a smarter woman. Aah! She loses it and goes all man-hating Camile Paglia's evil stepmommy like.

If you ask me, that dumb girlie deserves what she got for being such a loser. Picking up his stained undies from the floor is one thing, but writing his books for him? Get real, really!

At the other end, Antonio Gates hates all women because his mother left him - SLUT - and he sleeps with all those slutty hos. They only reinforce his opinion of the opposite sex, predictably. But even his granny joins the estrogen-bashing. Every slut in Antonio's life is not worthy - SLUTS - only a pure woman is worthy for a slut like Tony here. Not SLUTS. And every woman is a SLUT. Except for Maddie, of course. She's pure. Or something.

So Tony and Maddie spark. But in case I forget that all women are sluts except for Maddie and Tony's granny, the author brings on Tony's jealous Other Woman - SLUT - for some catfight jollies.

Needless to say, there is very little character development in this story. I mean, what need is there? Tony is perfect. It's not his fault. It's those sluts - SLUTS - who are to blame. Maddie is not at fault too. It's just that one man who's to blame. That man who, surely, forces Maddie to be the new doormat just to please him. Yeah, his fault.

So nobody learns anything, and they all live happily in their weird twisted bubble, Tony and Maddie and Granny versus the Sluts of the World. Yeah, yeah, Ms Norfleet, I understand. The world will surely be a better place if the man is always right. Whatever, really. Hmmm-eyes-rolling-upwards-mmmmph.

Rating: 49


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