The Impossible Bride
by Allie Shaw, historical (2002)
Ivy, $6.99, ISBN 0-8041-1965-1


Deborah Edgerton, a permanent pout on her face, realizes with a shock the moment she steps down the train in Galveston that she has been duped. The woman she is meeting isn't a woman but Patrick O'Connor. Worse, he lures her all the way here so that she can be his wife! Why he can't just freaking order a mail-order bride like every other man in Texas does in romance novels is beyond me.

Worse, he expects the woman to marry him so that she will take care of his six-year old. He doesn't even bother to tell Deborah the truth, constantly hedging and lying and evading the issue like a class A coward that Deborah has to pout, scowl, and put on petty tantrums to get anything out of him. Of course, if I'm her I'll just pack up and head off elsewhere, but not her. She tails around him like a pathetic whining puppy, marries him, nannies that brat, and in place of emotional development, the author then proceeds to put a road trip thing. External conflicts save the day.

The road trip thing for lost treasures and potatoes and other fun stuff isn't bad, really, but it's like a completely different novel. The hero is a completely different guy (a more appealing one, I must confess) and the heroine a completely different woman altogether (more mature, but where did the maturity come from?). What brought such changes? Lightning strike? Alien abduction? Religious enlightenment?

I would consider the sad first half a pathetic read while the road trip later half a satisfying fun adventure. But the abrupt shift in characterization and mood just isn't done well enough, and The Impossible Bride is like a strange amalgamation of two different books.

I don't know. Wait, I do know one thing: I don't like Allie Shaw's debut and the first half of this book at all, but I like the Allie Shaw that wrote the later part of this book. At the risk of sounding like Eminem, may I ask the real Allie Shaw to please stand up?

Rating: 58


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