I read 8 books this week. Granted, I was wading in the Harlequin pool and none of those books clocked past 300 pages - but still. 8 books in one week! I also seem to be on a serious Harlequin Historical kick. God, I forgot how good this series could be. Besides the fact that it is one of the few houses still publishing western romances - they seem to publish a lot of good western romances. I finished another great one yesterday:
Married By Midnight by Judith Stacy (Harlequin Historicals 622) - Stacy is yet another hit or miss author for me. When she's good I really like her books. When she's bad - eh. This one is great, and the best I've read by her so far.
The heroine is a bridesmaid (again) for her 3rd wedding in 3 months. She's sick of wedding plans, simpering brides and saying words like "lovely" when the bride's trousseau is paraded out in front of her. I mean, how long can one talk about china patterns before losing one's mind? Anyway this wedding will be the toughest yet because the bride's brother is the man who broke the heroine's heart as a young girl. He's also our hero.
Meanwhile, in another room, the hero is drinking very good scotch with his best friend. They begin to talk about how they'd both like to get married but the thought of suffering through a year's worth of wedding goo-ga and planning makes them want to hurl. The best friend then proposes a wager. Whomever woos and weds a young lady within 30 days will be the winner of a fine case of the very scotch they're drinking.
The hero isn't much for the wager, until he lays eyes on the heroine. He's immediately smitten. She's smart, well spoken, beautiful - all in all the "perfect" wife for him. He woos her, they wed - and you guessed it, she finds out about the wager. She is not happy. In fact, she breaks stuff. Bless her heart.
I loved this book because it features some of my favorite types of characters. The heroine is smart, capable, and just a nice person. She loves the hero and is devastated that he married her just for some silly wager. Of course, the hero loves the heroine - but he's a man and doesn't realize it's love (or he just won't admit it to himself). He doesn't want to lose her, and spends the rest of the story trying to figure out how to fix the mess, only to fail miserably most of the time. I mean, the poor guy just doesn't have a clue. He finally gets it right in the end though.
Also, this story takes place in late 19th century Los Angeles - a setting you don't see every day.
A really great read. Final Grade = A.