A Christmas Promise
by Shelley Bradley, historical (2001)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-7186-8

A Christmas Promise is a pain in the ass. It has a hero who makes passive aggressiveness transcends Chinese water torture and a heroine who, as a result of the hero's nincompoop behavior, is always this close to breaking into a smack-me-stupid hysterical breakdown.

Fans of Jo Beverley who love heroines trying to save the world as they vacillate over what to do, where to run, up or down, how to run, and more in what seems like a thousand pages longer than the epic Gilgamesh will love Juliana Archer. She just won't stop thinking or talking in incessant indecision.

Juliana once disobeyed her father and married a bad lout. Bad woman - that will teach you to think for yourself! Widowed, alone, and penniless in India, she is now taken back home by the man her father always wanted her to marry, Ian Pierce. Bad woman, next time do everything Daddy says and everything will be alright.

Ian wants to marry her. She says no. Fine, he will let her think about his proposal until Christmas. Juliana fishes for other guys. He gets mad. Juliana wonders if he wants her love. He demurs. Juliana gets confused. He demurs somemore. Juliana is now really confused. He gets really annoyed because she can't read his mind and do things his way. Juliana gets hurt - he is just like any other men, hmmph! He gets hurt some more, and hurts her some more.

"Somebody just talk, damnDAMNdamnDAMNit!" I scream and take a chainsaw to this book.

Okay, not a chainsaw, but I get really, really fed up with these two people after the 100th page. Watching these two trying to smack lips is like sitting on an electric chair while having my fingernails pulled out one by one by a pair of rusty pliers. I'd rather sleep on a bed of nails than to subject myself to this... this... aaah!

Rating: 45

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