by Marilyn Pappano, contemporary (2001)
Bantam, $6.50, ISBN 0-553-58232-1
Getting Lucky is bland. To keep myself amused, I start taking notice of all the itty-bitty details of this story, and I can now conclude that the town of Bethlehem is not an angel-blessed 7th Heaven-crossed-with-Stars Hollow wholesome goody-woody town but a coven of Satanists.
How do I come up with this no doubt unpopular and soon-to-get-me-flamed conclusion? By observing the way the town of Bethlehell works.
For instance, take hero Ben Foster. He is an outsider, a townie, who is in Bethlehell to see the daughter he created with a skankoholic trailer-park white trash years ago. Now, he wants to make up with daughter. So he comes to Bethlehell, and the first thing he does is to hang out at the local diner. Here, our local "friendly marm" starts grilling our hero. How long will he be staying? What is he doing here? He can lodge up at the inn, or with the "nice old woman who always have a spare room at these sort of town". Does he want a job? He can get a job too.
This, I bet, is a not-so-subtle attempt at making sure Ben will never leave. Watch out Ben, I saw in the X-Files where these townsfolks worship some giant slug creature that they infect into the body of an outsider. Watch your back, literally.
Our heroine is Lynda Barone, a rich, cold businesswoman whom everyone calls the Ice Queen. But at least she isn't the trailer trash skankoholic like that slut who spread for our hero when he was 19, so she deserves love. Meanwhile, our story digs not-so-subtly at poor Single White Trash Skankoholic's personality. Mind you, Ben may be a white-trash player himself, but, you know, he is misunderstood. All the townies rally around him, telling Lynda in aghast tones, how can she judge the man like that? He was just nineteen! Meanwhile, our lass, who dare spread at 19, is such a skank, condemned for promiscuity (isn't that rich?) and being a bad mother.
As opposed to trying years to forget you ever have a daughter and only now trying to find her, now that's a good daddy behavior, I guess.
Ben is boring. Lynda is boring. Both of them are stock characters in romance - she doesn't trust emotions, neither does he, boring bla bla bla, and the romance progresses just like it should - surprise-free and mundane. What is more surprising is how this book is quick to condemn Single Momma Berry while making a martyr out of Ben. I guess, in Bethlehell, it takes only one to make a baby. Ben and Lynda are completely indoctrinated in the ways of smalltown evil by the last page - they no longer have individuality, personality, and originality.
Hey, lemme flag a cab and hightail out of this town ASAP. It's scary in here, it's like a perpetual cult, I tell you. At least in Gilmore Girls, disgusting small-town values aside, Lorelei isn't burned at the stake for having a child out of wedlock. Heck, her boyfriend, the irresponsible daddy, even comes back to beg her for a second chance, awww. But in Bethlehell, it's a completely different story. I am so getting out of here.
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