Sunday, February 6, 2011

Review: Marry Me

Marry Me (Reidsville, #2)Marry Me by Jo Goodman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Far be it from me to accuse anyone writing romance of a formula, especially Jo Goodman (whose books I adore). Nevertheless, last year, after reading about 8 of her books in the span of a few months, I did find a common pattern to many of them:

$HEROINE is the walking wounded, a victim of $ONE_SICK_PUPPY who has raped, tortured, or blackmailed her. At the opening of the book, $ONE_SICK_PUPPY is not obviously present, but nevertheless he is present somehow. $HEROINE is so damaged and Goodman is so determined to reveal her secrets later in the book, that $HEROINE appears somewhat of a cipher to the reader. $HEROINE meets $HERO, a nice guy who may be initially unfairly judge the heroine but generally falls for her pretty hard. $HERO begins the rescue of $HEROINE with his tender care and wang of mighty lovin'; she then reveals the perfidy of $ONE_SICK_PUPPY. $HERO uses spy or other hero-like skillz to defeat / kill / institutionalize $ONE_SICK_PUPPY and save $HEROINE and possibly assorted dependents.

I should mention, I think this pattern is full of win.

This book has certain elements of the identified pattern, but in other ways is absolutely unique. The heroine, after aforementioned (yet surprisingly spoilery) damage, finds herself recovering in the household of the Reidsville, Colorado town doctor (a recent transplant from New York), eventually employed at looking after the house and the doctor's vivacious yet scarred younger sister. The relationship between the hero and heroine is a lot more straightforward than the secrets of the heroine's past, which keep emerging to shock the reader at every stage, and eventually intertwine with the doctor's medical investigations when an epidemic breaks out. Unlike the previous book in the series, Never Love A Lawman, the final confrontation isn't action-packed, but the conclusion is satisfying nevertheless. An excellent book, highly recommended.

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