With His Ring
by Cheryl Bolen, historical (2002)
Zebra Ballad, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-7248-1

I guess every gal has a few stupid schoolgirl crushes in her days. If you aren't tired of Harlequin's "I love my brother's best friend like since forever, I will grow breasts and then marry him one day, just you see!" series books and still want to see the dingbat girlie get the guy she has loved since forever and waiting to grow breasts for, check out Cheryl Bolen's With His Ring. With so many lil' girlies with creepy eyes waiting to grow breasts to marry that much older boy thing so prevalent in these books, no wonder all those guys are scared of us readers.

This book is related to The Bride Wore Blue, by the way.

Glee Pembroke has been in love with Gregory "Blanks" Blankenship (say, I must commend Ms Bolen for calling her hero "Blanks" - she must have indeed super Donkey Kong testicles to invite all those shooting blank jokes coming in) since forever. She has been turning down marriage proposals because no guy is Blanks. Blanks is all she wants. Blanks, oh Blanks, oh, oh OHHHHH! Ha, I wish we have a scene like that one, but Glee, a genteel quasi-bluestocking creature with a permanently perky expression, needs a man to push his hands between her legs before she goes all oh, oh OHHHHH! on me.

Poor Glee. He needs to marry like, now, because his late father's will says so. His brother Johnny, the Good One, is actually the evil one, because in romance novels, hardworking studious guys are all evil inside while whoring rakes are actually nice guys inside. The key is waiting until you grow breasts and then marry a rake out of convenience. Only, Glee is determined to make Blanks love her.

Well, I admire a gal who knows what she wants, although Glee can be so perky and determined that she scares me sometimes. I don't get it. It's just a schoolgirl's crush, won't it be better if the author lets Glee grow up a little and then love her man? In this story, it's all Glee smiling incessantly and bopping her hand. Blanks kicks her down, she smiles and bops back up, Tubthumping style. Blanks pushes her off, she smiles and clings harder. Blanks gets horny and shags her, she's in heaven.

I feel so fourteen years old reading this story, and no, that's not exactly a pleasant experience if you ask me.

Blanks is the ubiquitous won't-marry-all-women-are-boring dude, nothing extraordinary, just one useless sod lucky enough to be placed on a pedestal by a dingbat girlie whose brain never developed in tandem with her mammaries. The whole theme of With His Ring is absolute, complete, irrevocable girlishness and infatuation that never develop into anything more adult.

Mind you, on behalf of all women with broken childhood crushes, Ms Bolen's Glee may be the trophy gal. But me, at least, I've moved past my girly crushes, and looking back, all of those crushes are actually silly, annoying boys when I think of it. While it's nice that Glee gets her man, I can't help but to wish that she, like me, will grow up a little.

Oh, and keep this book away from your brother's best male friends if you don't want them eying you as if you are the new voodoo shamaness from horror movie hell the next time you talk to them. Just in case.

Rating: 70

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