Keishon's TBR Challenge is coming up next week, and in preparation for it, I thought it would be fun to read one of the few Maggie Osborne novels I still have buried in my TBR. For those of you new around here, I lurve me some Maggie Osborne. I have four books by her in the Bat Cave Keeper Stash, and even two other books that I wasn't wild about (for the record: Shotgun Wedding and A Stranger's Wife) still had enough juice for me to not only read them all the way through, but they also "stuck" with me for a while. Well, the unthinkable happened yesterday. The unimaginable. A sure sign of the apocalypse if ever there was one....
I DNF'ed a Maggie Osborne novel.
The book in question is Silver Lining, and yes, I know this lands me in the minority. Azteclady loved this book. It got a very favorable review over at TRR. AAR gave it a B. Even Mrs. Giggles slapped it with a rating of 76. Out of all of these examples, I find myself agreeing a lot with what Mrs. G and AAR (Blythe handled the reviewing duties here) had to say. But, let me explain for myself....
The story opens with the heroine nursing a mining camp through a raging case of the pox. She's had it before, and has heard you "can't get it twice" - therefore sticks around to play nursemaid. The camp has gone from boom to bust thanks to the epidemic, so when the men recover they're downright grateful to her. They offer her anything her heart desires and in a moment of rashness she blurts out that she wants a baby. Not some poor little orphan child but her own baby.
I've long said that in order to keep from going insane, authors really shouldn't "think" of readers while writing a book. Frankly no book in universally loved, you can't please everybody, and authors should just concentrate on writing the best book that they can. In the romance world, I think all the author really needs to do is deliver the happy ending. Readers are going to bring their own personal baggage into any book they read, and authors have no control over that - so why should they make themselves crazy over it?
The whole "No thank you, I want my own baby" scenario is one that bugs me. I have friends who were adopted. I have friends who have adopted. My own niece is adopted. I have baggage. Loads of it. Does my family love my niece any less because she didn't go swimming around in our gene pool? Absolutely frickin' not! We love her just as much as my nephew (a product of said gene pool). She's smart. She's cute. She loves to read. That kid is the bee's knees. Do my friends with adopted children love them any less? Absolutely frickin' not! I think I can safely say that each and every one of them would lay down and die for their children. Period. They would do anything to protect them. Period. So yeah, baggage.
Moving on, the heroine doesn't want a husband, she just wants the baby. But the preacher can't abide with fornication so the hero, despite being engaged, draws the short straw and is forcibly wed to the heroine. Here's the thing. Heroine doesn't want a husband. Hero doesn't want to marry heroine. Yet they still stand before the preacher and say "I Do." Huh? Is it just me, or does this make no sense? They're adults. Nobody is pointing a gun at them. Why not just say, "I don't" and walk away? Oh yeah, because then we'd have no novel.
Anyway, then of course the hero takes the heroine back to his parents' ranch and the heroine gets a warm reception. Then the chick the hero was supposed to marry shows up and complications ensue. Chick #2 (or maybe she's #1 since she was engaged to the hero after all) assumes The Evil Other Woman role and that's where I completely lose interest. The older I get, the less patience I have for The Evil Other Woman trope. Plus it begs the question, what the heck did the hero see in that chick to begin with if she's so frackin' vile? It doesn't say a whole lot for his intelligence now, does it?
And that, as they say, was that. I skipped ahead to the final few chapters, skimmed those, and called it a day. So....
Final Grade = DNF
A Maggie Osborne book. Sigh. I never thought this day would come. In the meantime, I've yanked another book out my TBR to meet Keishon's challenge. Hopefully I'll have better luck with it.