Bushwhacked Bride
by Eugenia Riley, historical/time-travel (1999)
Lovespell (Wink And A Kiss), $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52320-5


Professor Jessica Garrett (she left college at 1994 and becomes a professor in five years - wow!) is suffering from sore bum and total boredom. She is trapped in ludicrous over-the-top reenactment of Life In The Ol' West. She may specialize in Frontier Women History, but she realizes now that outdoor plumbing is an experience best undergone vicariously. Too bad that she bumps her head when the rickety carriage hits a particularly nasty pothole or something, gets pricked by an old-fashioned cameo brooch, and gets sent back from 1999 to 1888. The coach she is now in gets hijacked by the notorious Reklaw brothers, she gets kidnapped, she sees the Reklaw brothers get a nasty dressing down from their broom-swinging mother, and things really go downhill for both Jessica and me from here onwards.

Ma Reklaw offers Jessica as a prize to whichever Reklaw brat that can sober up from their whoring and gambling and drinking to woo her. In short, Ma is hoping to use Jessica to straighten up the useless wastrels. But of course, Jess, being smart, picks the cutest and the most intelligent of the bunch (trust me, the other Reklaws are as dumb as rocks) - Cole Reklaw. Jess also teaches the Reklaws to read, gets them to go to church, and fantasizes about Cole buried deep inside her (this is a quote from the book - the closest thing to sexiness really, if I can call it that).

I don't really care, to be honest. The book starts out fine, reading like an intelligent pooh-pooh on Western stereotypes, but it soon degenerates into a farce. Jessica and Cole exhibit little chemistry, and what passes on for sexual tension ends up rather silly when I read it. Like Jessica getting all hot and bothered when Cole pets a cat. When they both dream of him buried deeply in her (talk about morbid imageries). And I'm surprised the smart as goons Reklaw brothers can find wives so quickly. I guess it must be easier for guys when they are handsome as sin and happy ending needs to be attained in 100 pages. I feel so sorry for their wives. I hope they know what they're getting into.

Also, for a woman in the wrong time, Jessica is quick to give up wondering how to go home. She turns out to be yet another obligatory virgin who loses all her professorial braininess when she sees Cole in tight jeans. A pity - the woman who sneers disdainfully at Wild West parodies ends up an object of her disdain.

Also, the humor is slapstick, not that I have a problem with that, but slapstick cranked up to a fevered pitch that after a while it is really exhausting. Ma keeps swinging her broom that it gets old as comedy relief quickly. In fact, every comedic value is milked dry in repetition that after 100 pages, without any poignant romanticism or even entertainment value to keep me reading, I tune out.

After all, they have Mr Bean on TV, and trust me, Rowan Atkinson can beat Cole pants down when it comes to comedy.

Rating: 54


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