Sweet Revenge
by Lynsay Sands, historical (2000)
Leisure, $5.99, ISBN 0-8439-4680-6


Lynsay Sands is fast making a name as an author of fun, light-hearted romance stories, but in her latest, Sweet Revenge, the whole thing spirals out of control. The plot go overboard in absurdities halfway into the story, and after a while I really feel like Alice in Absurdist Wonderland, and I'm sure poor Kyla feels the same way too.

Poor Kyla. After being wounded while fighting off rogues trying to murder her brother, she not only discovers that her evil sister-in-law Catriona is the mastermind of the whole shenanigans, she is also going to be shipped off to be the equally evil Lord MacGregor's bride.

Lucky for her, handsome laird Galen MacDonald has a grudge against MacGregor. MacGregor is responsible for the deaths of Galen's wife and baby, so now Galen is determined to steal the scum's bride for himself. He attacks the bride shipment, rescues Kyla, only to lose her to amnesia.

Never mind. He brings her back to his holdings where they play house and make lots of beautiful babies. Of course, the evil McG wants his bride, Catriona wants Kyla's brother dead, and our hero and heroine must save the day.

Most of the book centers on Kyla readjusting to life on Galen's Happy Valley of a holding. Thing is, the whole thing is so farcical that it ceases to be funny. Galen's people are like Tweedledum and Tweedledee crossed with the Mad Hatter. They display sheep-like behavior and stupidity that are supposed to be funny but these come off as unintentionally mean-spirited. I feel bad laughing at them, because they are really really obtuse people. If these people are real people in their era, I bet they would be eliminated by an invading hoard in ten seconds flat.

The story moves on two really preposterous aspect of the plot. The first quarter is basically a comedy of errors because no one sees fit to tell amnesiac Kyla that she is married to Galen. The second quarter happens because no one tells Kyla the name of her husband. Are these people in the book really that stupid? Perhaps they have been reading too many Highland romances and assume that like 90% of all Scots heroine, Kyla has the Gift. Too bad, she hasn't.

Things get moving late into the story when McG gets moving to reclaim Kyla. Unfortunately, here the book degenerates into a typical Road Runner episode. Catriona is evil, so what are the chances that she is a promiscuous ho who enjoys S&M skanky sex? What do you think?

I can forgive Sweet Revenge for the lack of historical details, and I like Kyla and Galen (though stereotypical types they may be), but it is very difficult to read the whole ridiculous plot absurdities that rely on buffoony people to carry the laughs. I mean, yes, absurd can be good, but Sweet Revenge's brand of absurd is... well, absurd.

Rating: 49


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