Maybe I’ve overdosed on Kleypas… after all, I read five of her books in a row. That’s one a day. I always seem to do this with new writers (new for me, anyway). If I read a book by a writer that I’ve never read before and happen to like it, I go out and buy every single book written by that author. Sometimes, I get sick of that author right away, but sometimes I get more enamored with the author’s work and would gladly trade my good kidney and ovaries for an ARC. When I came across this book at my local B&N, I fawned over the delicious cover, read the back blurb, and instantly dropped it in my basket. After all, I couldn’t resist a good Heathcliff story—two children, one rich, the other poor, who fall in love, but the poor one is driven away by the wealthy one’s family, and the poor one comes back wealthy and out for revenge—and combined with Kleypas’ sparkling writing, thought I had a winner in my hands. I was wrong. I was so bored by this story that I actually skimmed through about seventy five percent of it. From what I’ve read of Kleypas’ stuff, I guess I expected more of it… not this lackluster crap. To add insult to the injury, the reason the two leads are kept apart is so frickin’ stupid that I was actually offended by it. I was mildly more interested in the secondary storyline involving the heroine’s sister and the hero’s best friend, but that was also resolved in such a boring-ass fashion that all and all, I did not have fun reading this book.
Our heroine, Aline, daughter of the Earl of Westcliff , is the prettiest, nicest, fairest girl in all of the land. Because she’s nice to everyone, even poor people, she befriends the stable boy, who is a downstairs maid’s bastard son. The two of them grow up together, with Aline teaching the stable boy everything she learns from her schooling and the stable boy teaching Aline how to ride, hunt, swim, and everything a hoydenish female character in Regency-Victorian England would normally do. Before too long, Aline starts noticing the changes in the stable boy’s body and how it makes her girly parts tingle just to look at him. Oh, he’s just so perfect and tall and dreamy… he’s McDreamy! But Stable Boy is poor and Aline is rich and oh no, Daddy would never approve of this union. Long story short, Aline becomes a little too curious about what’s in Stable Boy’s breeches, and one afternoon, they get caught doing something they shouldn’t. Bad, bad kids! As a result of this, Daddy threatens to do something very bad to Stable Boy, Aline pleads leniency on Stable Boy’s behalf, Daddy agrees as long as Aline promises never to see Stable Boy again, Stable Boy promises to come back for Aline, and Aline lies that she never loved Stable Boy, so that Stable Boy will hate her and never want to come back and incur Daddy’s wrath.
Anyway, Stable Boy, also known as John McKenna, but prefers to be called McKenna, is now wealthier that Aline’s family and has come back for revenge. Revenge! He hates Aline because he thinks she betrayed him, so as payback, he plans to humiliate her and hurt her like she hurt him… but oh, she’s so pretty and smells so good and he loves her so much that he… no… REVENGE… but she’s so… soft and her hair is… NO… Revenge! Whatever, McKenna is such a goddamn bore with his predictable thinking that I actually started yelling at the book, saying stuff like, “For God’s sake, if you’re gonna do something, DO IT ALREADY, you ASSHOLE!” which, of course, prompted Tim to stare at me and just sadly shake his head.
Okay, I lied. I did enjoy this book a little bit. I thought it was pretty awesome that it was Aline who was all hot in the pants and trying to seduce McKenna and shit. I mean, for once a heroine in a romance novel doesn’t act like some lobotomized Barbie doll who’s all about protecting her virtue and shit (there’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but if it’s your only character trait?). Instead, Aline acts like a normal teenager with hormones and pretty much attacks McKenna at every opportunity. It was also pretty funny how McKenna’s all, “No, Aline, this is wrong… I’m just a Stable Boy and you’re the Daughter of an Earl… we’re not meant to be!” ineffectually pushing her away and pretending that the horsey in his pants wants nothing to do with Aline’s hoo-ha. Meanwhile, Aline’s all, “Oh, stop whining, and just give to me, Stable Boy… Really, really give it to me! I want you to shove it all in me! DO IT!” That shit cracked me up, for real.
The story goes downhill once McKenna comes back and is all “Revenge! Revenge!” but totally pussies out when he sees that Aline is still so beautiful and delicate and fragile and looks like the prettiest fairy princess ever! I guess what I’m just really bitter because I was never really convinced about why McKenna wants revenge. I mean, so what if Aline pushed him away? It gave him the motivation to go somewhere with his life and become a very wealthy man, right? He should be kissing her fucking toes for what she did! If she hadn’t pushed him away, he would have been content being a stable boy, maybe become an upstairs servant at most, and Aline would still be the daughter of an earl. She did you a favor, dumbass! I guess what I’m saying is that there’s really no point to McKenna’s whining and bitching about being betrayed and shit. Aline thought she was doing what was best for him and you know what? It was! And don’t tell me that it was up to McKenna to make his own decisions! If it weren’t for Aline supposedly “betraying” him, he would have stuck around and maybe they would have run away together, but they would be poor and in about a year, they’d hate each other because Aline is used to the finer things in life, which he can’t provide for her ‘cause his DUMB ASS IS POOR!
Ahem. I’m just saying that McKenna didn’t convince me, that’s all. Oh, and I couldn’t believe how surprised he was when he finally does it with Aline and finds out she’s a virgin. Idiot. Of course she’s a virgin! She’s a romance heroine!
As for Aline… oh, Lord, what is up with Kleypas and her martyr heroines? Martyred to the point of stupidity, I mean! So McKenna has come back and she’s all a-flutter because she’s not the woman that he once loved because she’s… now deformed! After McKenna leaves, Aline gets in an accident and now her legs are all messed up and she’s afraid that McKenna won’t love her because she’s not the perfect fairy princess that he once worshipped and adored. HOW FUCKING STUPID IS THAT? That’s just the shallowest bullshit I’ve ever heard. Listen, if a guy is supposedly in love with you and he’s your one true love, but he dumps you because you’ve got a couple of scars on your leg? HE’S NOT WORTH IT, DUMBASS! Anyway, Aline frets about this shit for like a hundred pages and at this point, I’m so damned tired of rolling my eyes, that I started drinking vodka straight up from the bottle to numb the pain.
There’s a secondary storyline involving Aline’s sister Livia, who is ostracized from society because she got pregnant by her fiancé, but the fiancé died before they could get married. Livia swears that she will never love again, so she won’t come out of mourning and pretty much haunts the estate grounds like some sort of ghost. Who comes to the rescue but McKenna’s best friend, George? Personally, I think he would have made a better male lead than McKenna ‘cause dude knows TORTURED and BROODING. He’s good-looking, a charming, happy guy… who’s got a secret. He’s an alcoholic, yo! He goes on these three day benders where he just disappears and comes back days later, all refreshed and happy again. I also thought that Livia was a more interesting character than Aline, who bored me with her whining about the stupid scars on her legs. I think if Livia had been more developed as a character and her love affair with George had been fleshed out more? It would have been a better book! I’m just sayin’.
Oh, and before I forget, Aline has a gay sidekick that makes McKenna jealous and act like an all around asshole, not that he needs any help in that department. A gay sidekick. Like a gorgeous gay man like that would have nothing better to do than give Aline’s dumbass advice about men and pat her hand or something. Give me a break!
I have a few more Kleypas to read, but with the absolutely dreadful and boring Somewhere I’ll Find You… I’m reluctant to read the rest. I’ve still got to read DoY ‘cause I promised some people that I would, but… ugh… I’m almost tempted to read the latest Dark-Hunter novel. Don’t ask me why I have it. It’s a long and painful story. And it will probably be a long and painful read, but I think I’m about to OD on Kleypas.
After this book, I think I need a three day bender myself.