Someday Soon
by Joan Wolf, historical (2000)
Warner, $6.50, ISBN 0-446-60694-4


Many readers mention the name Joan Wolf in the same breath as "quality romance". My first try at a Joan Wolf romance, Golden Girl, ends up an exercise in snoring practice. This new one, Someday Soon ends up an exercise in escalating my blood pressure. Oh well.

Ever wonder what it's like when spoiled Goldilocks falls in love with Uggles the Caveman? Welcome aboard.

Lady Alexandra Wilton's father is really furious when the little miss breaks off yet another engagement. "But Father, I want to marry for love!" she says, to which his answer is to add a clause in his will. Unfortunately, the man dies before he can get a grip on his temper and now Alexandra has to face the consequences of her father's idiocy.

She has to marry the new Earl or she will lose all her inheritance. At first she recoils at the thought of marrying her cousin, but well, since she can't strangle her father to death herself, she steels her breath and tries to negotiate a middle ground with cousin Geoffrey. But it gets worse: turns out Geoffrey isn't the one up for the inheritance of the new title. It's a Scotsman.

Niall MacDonald hates everything English. But he decides to go to England, grab the money, and rebuild his lands. How sweet.

Alexandra and Niall rub each other off the wrong way from get go. The battle lines are drawn, and you know both are going to bite the dust hard.

Thing is, Niall has only one personality - dumb dumb. This man acts like a shallow, bigoted twit throughout the whole book. He blames his wife for everything from Culloden to the current land-clearing activities of the Brits. But hey, he hates her also because he can't stop wanting her. Why? Because she's beautiful. Throughout the whole book his emotions remain the same - he wants her because she's beautiful but he won't keep her because she's English (that doesn't stop him from sleeping with her because he thinks it's for her own good - that woman needs something to do, like raising a child, after he has ditched her, so our hero decides to sacrifice some of his precious sperm for the sake of humanity).

And Alexandra? She at first acts like a bratty, spoiled child, but that's okay, because at least she gives as good as Niall gives back. But after the first coitus, she wakes up and realizes - you guess it - she's in love with him! She then spends the whole book persuading him to take her back to Scotland, oh please darlin', she'll be a good wife, surely he knows that! Pathetic.

Niall puts her through a lot of nonsense on the account of his stupid and unreasonable bigotry. He abandons her to his equally sheep-like and bigoted people, but hey, I guess I'm to forgive him because he's Scottish and he's handsome. Frankly, I think Niall has the emotional maturity of a ten-year old. What else to explain his inability to withstand Alexandra's beauty no matter how hard he tells himself - and me - that he hates her Englishness?

And when these two should sit down and do their kindergarten assignments, the author decides to add in a Who wants to kill Niall? mystery instead. Nothing like forced activity to sweep all those emotional issues under the carpet for a forced happy ending, eh?

Someday Soon isn't as much a romance as an apology for the poor mistreated Scots folks of yore. That's okay with me, but really, that doesn't excuse the hero's lousy B-grade attempts at patriotism or the way the heroine has to compromise everything for the sake of the happy ending.

Rating: 48


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