by Celeste Bradley, historical (2001)
Leisure, $4.99, ISBN 0-8439-4888-4

This story is the closest to what happens when the Incredible Hulk writes a romance novel. Imagine Dr Bruce Banner happily writing a fun, happy romance novel until... wwwarrgggh! His clothes burst apart and he turns into the bad-tempered green Hulk and starts ripping the story apart. That's Fallen, a romance novel who redefines the term Schizophrenia.

It starts out amazing. I am charmed by Isadora Temple and Eppingham "Eppie" Rowley (by the way, it's not nice to laugh at a guy named Eppie - could be worse, say, "Pippie"). Never mind the ancient, cringe-awful premise of mistaken seduction, where Eppie stumbles into Isadora's bed by mistake (he thinks it's some easy woman's). Still, no screaming, no unnecessary yelling, and both parties promise to compromise and make do in their instant betrothal. Never mind that Isadora thinks it's cool to live life as a fallen woman, because, well, she's a spinster and she will never marry. I'm charmed because these two are so fun together and they have chemistry.

Then the Green Hulk strikes. Hulk smash! Isadora turns into a brainless twit, a martyr for all the wrong reasons, and she is an ugly duckling only in that she changes from a funny if dowdy lass into an expensive, beautiful, and useless doormat. Eppie gets all psychotic and jealous for the most mundane of reasons and yes, he just cannot love because he can't, he won't, et cetera. Communication breaks down, pages after pages are wasted in unnecessary tears, sulkings, and everybody is just plain whacked in the end.

For a while, the author also got me believing that Fallen will be a really great story. Too bad it soon falls on its arse and can never get back up on its feet again.

Rating: 50

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