Mistress Of Rossmor
by Marianne Willman, historical/paranormal (2002)
St Martin's Press, $6.50, ISBN 0-312-98132-5


This book has a nice premise. It's just too bad that the heroine is a hysterical Counselor Troi (with breasts and maidenhead) and the hero is your Daddy Von Trapp figure. The weak paranormal elements drown any characterization whatsoever - the heroine is, at best, a simple-minded twit while the hero is, well, if you love condescending college professor boyfriends, you'll love this book better than me.

Grace Templar is your typical heroine of innocence, purity, beauty, 36DD breasties, and long flaxen hair variety who has fallen into hard times after darling Daddy died. She also has visions of the past - oh, oh, oh! Since she is a dingbat heroine, she just has to find the nastiest, bitchiest employer. No, I won't hire women like her to even clean my toilet bowl, her employer is some American harridan and her daughter.

While in Rome, she does a "Oooowwweeee! I see dead people!" clutch-my-chest and hold-my-forehead double-over thing. Alistair McLean finds her unconscious, and gets a powerful erection soon after. He's a scientist, you know, but his daughter claims to see dead thingies and all, so a man of science naturally is lost. He decides to bring Grace home to his place, Rossmor, which is haunted.

But that will happen only after some long, interminable compromised nonsense. Naturally, Grace doesn't want to marry, but all he has to do is to bring up his reputation and she naturally backpedals. Ah, nothing like finding another daddy to hold her hand as she crosses the streets, I say. Keep her safe, Alistair, keep her safe. The world is a dark and dangerous place, and truly, Grace, a special child, is too good for this world.

Oh, and Grace will mother Alistair's daughter, naturally, and she is the best mother ever. You know what, I'm too tired to care. I just want the ghosts. Bring on the ghosts, Ms Willman!

But this story then goes whacked. Alistair brings Grace home to be the Madame Psychic and Madame Maria Poppina to his daughter, but then he completely disbelieves her when she screams that ghostly fingers are playing with her moneybox at night. I'm kidding about the fingers, by the way. He, a man of science, apparently doesn't believe her. Then why bring her here? Sex, maybe, because his solution to calming a hysterical Grace down is naturally by sex. Alistair uses his penis the way you will use a pacifier to calm down a baby, only this is like a pacifier for the other orifice. Ahem, what am I saying again?

If I sound confused, I am. This story wants to be a ghost story, but it takes its own sweet time, waddling through a tired premise of Rescue the Simpletons to a ghost story at the Rossmor Rectory. Then it backpedals quickly, trying its best to be a marriage of convenience/supernanny story with only a little ghosts, culminating in a silly seance thing that solves everything. Hmm, what was that all about?

Reading this book is like watching Marianne Willman backpedaling through and forth. It's like a "Hey, ghosts... not too scary, my fans may not like that... ghosts ... no, take that back, my readers may get traumatized by even a little bit scary stuff... ghosts... why am I writing a ghost story if I don't want to scare off conservative readers? Well, word count's up - T-H-E E-N-D! Woo-hoo, now to buy a new shower cap!" thing. Rossmor is one case even the great fame-hungry ghost hunter of legend, Harry Price, wouldn't touch with a paranormal wave detector.

Rating: 58


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