Sunday, January 23, 2011

Random Romance Sunday: Taking Dictation With Mad Jack

The Book: Darling Jack by Mary McBride

The Particulars: Historical romance, Harlequin Historical #323, 1996, Out of Print

The Blurb:
Jack Hazard Needed A Wife

And Anna Matlin was the perfect woman for the job. Though she seemed like a timid mouse, Jack was convinced that the file clerk possessed a multitude of charms. Charms that he would soon expose as he drew her into his dangerous game of revenge.

Anna's colorless existence ended the day she became the 'wife' of her hero, Jack Hazzard. But though she was learning that beneath the legendary Pinkerton detective's dashing exterior was a haunted, lonely man, still she longed for the brief assignment to become the role of a lifetime!

Is It In Wendy's TBR?:  Nope.  I know, a Harlequin Historical set in the U.S of A and Wendy doesn't own it?  The shock!  The horrors!

Any Reviews?:  Library Journal gave this one a favorable review (which you can read in full over at Amazon):
Despite the dark Victorian overlay, there are moments of high hilarity in McBride's (Forever and a Day, Harequin, 1995) novel, an interesting blend of poignancy and humor.
RT Book Reviews gave it 4.5 Stars:
Mary McBride has a gift for distilling tragedy into triumph. If you haven't discovered this talented jewel, take a chance on Mad Jack Hazard. You can't lose.
Anything Else?:  As much as I love American settings in historical romances (this one takes place in Chicago and St. Louis) I tend to go a big rubbery one over Pinkerton heroes.  I'm well aware this makes absolutely no sense at all - what with my mystery/suspense reading background and my love for private detective characters in that particular genre.  I don't know why this is, it just is.  So that would be why I don't naturally gravitate towards these sorts of American historicals.

Now that all be said, oooooh this one tempts me so!  Turns out we have a self-loathing, wounded hero type, who has a tendency to fall into the nearest whiskey bottle.  The RT review implies that the hero is coming off a major screw up (caused by his drinking), but he's determined to close one last case - hence plucking the mousy heroine out of the secretarial pool to work with him undercover.

And to think I originally zeroed in on this book because the cover model looked like an extra who wandered off the set of Maverick

Ahem, anywho - Mary McBride has a decent-sized backlist and wrote several books in the Harlequin Historical line.  However her most recent title was a Silhouette Desire from 2008.  Nothing since then....

9 comments:

nath said...

LOL, we all have our quirks as readers, Wendy :) It just shows that we know ourselves well :)

It does sound like a good book with reviews to support it and a decent cover!! :)

LoriK said...

Your Pinkerton quirk doesn't seem that odd to me. The history of the Pinkerton's has some major issues.

Anonymous said...

Hero looks like a young James Garner. Heh. --Keishon

Leslie said...

I have a couple of McBride's historicals but not this one. Tempting...

Marie-Thérèse said...

I am so glad I'm not the only one that saw that cover and immediately thought "Maverick!"

I don't mind Pinkertons but revenge plots are usually a no-go for me so I'm unlikely to pick this one up. Given the very favourable reviews though I may search out other books by this author.

Lynn Spencer said...

I remember reading and liking at least one of this author's books back when I was still in school, but I can't remember which one it was (maybe Sugarman or Fly Away Home?) I looked over on Amazon, but couldn't jog my memory - though I did notice the cover of Sugarman is absolutely hilarious! And I think I may need this one for the TBR.

Wendy said...

Nath: I don't own that many of these earlier HH titles. Shocking, I know.

LoriK: I think it boils down to "honesty" for me. So often in romance novels Pinkerton agent is code for "hero who lies through his teeth for the whole blessed book." I need to see some trust in order for the romance to work.

Keishon: I know, doesn't he? I immediatley thought of Maverick :)

Leslie: I have one of hers in my TBR... Gunslinger. Because KristieJ recommended it.

Marie: I can roll with revenge plots, depending. Here it sounds like the hero wants revenge against the villain and not anyone connected to the heroine in some way - so it might work for me.

Lynn: OK, I had to look up Sugarman. OMG - that back cover blurb is chock full of purple prose!

Gail Dayton said...

When I read this, I thought the Mary McBride name sounded familiar, so I looked her up. And she wrote a couple of books--contemporaries--I really enjoyed in '02 and '03: "Still Mr. and Mrs." and "My Hero." They had that same mix of comedy and poignance (gee, that word's spelled funny)as this book's supposed to have. Maybe I can find it...

Wendy said...

Gail: She wrote several westerns for HH, and I've never read her. Most of those appear to have been published pre-Wendy Reading Romance. I have at least one of hers in the TBR, almost pulled it out for last year's challenge even! If I like it, I'll have to scrounge up her others....