It Takes A Hero
by Elizabeth Boyle, historical (2004)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-06-054930-0

The very act of trying to give a coherent synopsis to the story that is It Takes A Hero gives me a headache. The kitchen sink has spilled over in this story and I do not appreciate the result. Let me try and see if I can actually make any sense of this story.

Okay, there is someone writing some popular books starring Miss Darby, a feitsy and independent heroine and the Mother of All Regency Romance heroines, no doubt. These books are causing impressionable chits in London to spurn marriages and become Independent and Feisty, so much so that the Marriage Mart shuts down for that Season. I told you these heroines are impressionable creatures. We should just send them to school, or better still, the coal mines where they would at of some use.

Rafe Danvers is the bored youngest son of a nobleman type who dabbles in private investigations. He is hired to find the author of the Miss Darby books and just make her stop, for the love of Almack's. Rafe actually drops a murder case to pursue this matter. He believes that the author is a woman. He follows the clues leading to the author's identity until he comes to Bromley Village, where Battlesfield Park, his prize for finding the author's identity, is located. Wait, it gets better - the first woman he encounters is Rebecca Tate who is actually the author! And Rebecca's family once owned Battlesfield Park before her stupid father flushed the family finances down the drain! And she is mixed up in the murder case Rafe was investigating before this too!

Beyond the ridiculous overuse of coincidences in the story, It Takes A Hero doesn't have much else either to salvage it. Rebecca is a typical Feitsy But Penniless Bluestocking stereotype while Rafe is Just Another Standard Hero. The author piles on the subplots involving dead bodies, jewels, dotty uncles, and more until this book morphs into a "What is this?!" kind of book. A little simplicity in the plot would have gone a long way to improve matters.

Some amusing moments arise from Rafe trying to find proof that Rebecca is the author and Rebecca trying her best to sabotage him, but all in all, pleasurable moments are few in this story. Will someone please tell Ms Boyle to put more effort into working out her plots? Her plot remains her biggest problem in pretty much nearly every one of her book, which is a pity because I'd still like to believe that she can one day come up with a book that can live up to the potential her debut Brazen Angel hints at. And her debut came out a long, long, long time ago. How long more do I have to wait?

Rating: 58

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