Author: Jo Beverly
Genre: Fantasy romance.
Setting: Regency England, with some magic.
Reason for Reading: It was 99 cents at Goodwill. I'm not ashamed.
Finished In: Days. Yes, days.
Pages: 348, including an author's note.
Copyright Date: 1998
Cover: A silver dagger with a red ribbon floating around it. In the background a couple is kissing. This basically makes no sense as the magical object in the book is a sheela-na-gig (that link is NSFW or children), though I will admit I understand why the publishers didn't want to put one of those on the front.
First line: "The sharp rap of the knocker almost made Meg Gillingham cut herself with her paring knife."
My favorite and least favorite parts include spoilers.
Best part: After it is revealed that the villain is kinky, and the heroine is all freaked out about it, she asks her love interest if he's ever been flogged, and he says, "yeah, it was fine but didn't do anything for me." It's nice that the author didn't equate kink with evil.
Worst part: "I can't tell him the truth, he would never trust me again! And the plot would be unable to advance!" Particularly as a big deal is made out of the hero hating liars and then acts like it's no big deal when she does tell him the truth.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Talking in Your Sleep" by the Romantics
Grade: C-. The bad parts were really pretty appalling.
Recommended for: Anyone looking for a beach read so trashy it will make you laugh out loud.
Related Reads: The Marriage Spell by Mary Jo Putney, though that was better.
Meg Gillingham has been recently orphaned. Worse, she is penniless. Worse still, she has not one but four younger siblings in her care. Worst of all, the one remaining father figure in her life, a friend of her parents, is now demanding that Meg make her innocent young sister his mistress in exchange for providing for the horde. (After, apparently, maintaining a nice-guy cover for literally YEARS. And without, apparently, being able to employ any kind of subtlety in getting his evil desires met. On Christmas Eve.)
I know, cliched, right? It gets even better. Really it does. Because the family has this magic statue, see? It's been passed down through the generations, only the women can use it. It will make your wishes come true, but for a terrible price.
Meg sees no other choice but to use the statue, but who could have imagined (beside anyone who has ever read a fantasy romance EVAR) that her wish would bring a strange nobleman to propose to her? And what cost will the magic extract from the desperate young woman?
This book went out the other side of bad, and is actually kind of awesome. C- for quality, B+ on sheer enjoyment chortling. Anyone want to borrow it before I swap it out?