by Shannon Stacey, historical (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 1-59998-860-7
It's a familiar story. Our heroine Rebecca "I Slap Men Who Say The Whore Word To Me Because I'm So Hot That Way" Hamilton packs up what little she has and takes a coach to Gardiner, Texas, only to realize that she has inherited a brothel from her late aunt. After slapping the town sheriff Adam Caldwell for daring to use the W word to her, she decides to... um, do something to discover the true inner woman. Or something.
You see, I'm confused by the heroine in Becoming Miss Becky. She comes off a mess. She disapproves of prostitution, but yet she will happily try to let her hair down and sleep with Adam because she's discovering her inner wanton or something. I can't get a firm grip on what Becky's personality is. She seems to be a pastiche version of the familiar "virgin gone wild with hero and ends up settling down with him so that none of you can call her a slut" heroine in this kind of story but her emotions and motivations seem to swing from one extreme to another in a way that makes me scratch my head. I guess Becky is yet another heroine who doesn't know what she is doing. What else is new, eh?
I'm not sure about the romance either. Becky and Adam seem to fall in love in a perfunctory manner in between plenty of scenes depicting the oh-so-amusing happenings in Gardiner. Will and Eliza Jane are either playing cheerleaders to our couple here or they are taking every opportunity to remind the world that they are bumping uglies as much as possible. The prostitutes all have hearts of gold, misunderstood darlings with sad pasts, while the whorehouse is a safe house where they all get together and sing happy songs or something. And on and on, the story goes.
The characters are all too familiar for their own good and the story muddles itself from one familiar scene to another. Becoming Miss Becky therefore doesn't come off like a coherent historical Western romance as much as it is like some kind of montage of familiar scenes that I have come across in way too many Western romances that feature a comparatively innocent heroine inheriting a brothel.
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