Two for the price of one!
I remember Bewitching by Jill Barnett with some fondness; it has always been one of my favorite funny books. Well, thank goodness there was more than fun in this book. Yes, there are still some laugh-out-loud moments - the kissing the window pane is one of Romanceland's all-time funny moments. I am still able to maintain a chuckle after turning a few pages. However, this story is more than just laughs. There are some really poignant moments in this tale.
This is almost a "Bewitched" type story with an uptight Darrin, this time Alec Castlemaine, Duke of Belmore (I like to imagine Alec is more handsome than either Darrin). Joy MacQuarrie is a cross between Samantha and Aunt Clara/Esmeralda. She's a witch who's conjuring leaves a lot to be desired - in fact, all of her spells are disasters. While Joy is a "joy" to watch, it is Alec who steals the show as he struggles with a wife who is a witch. And not only is she a witch, but she's a bad witch... not mean bad but "oops!" bad. His struggle with the gradual loss of perfection that he expects of himself and everyone around him is some really great writing. And the relationship with his mentally challenged brother, who he never knew he had, was filled with some really poignant moments.
Now, some people may want to give Alec a kick in the butt, but I found his fall from perfection simply delicious. If you want to laugh and cry at the same time, you should really read this book. It's one of Jill Barnett's classics.
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Medium Hot!
Now, on to Dreaming, the sequel to Bewitching. This is the story of Richard, the cruel drunk, and Letitia, the accident prone stalker chick who has l-o-v-e-d Richard f-o-r-e-v-e-r and e-v-e-r. I remember thinking this book was hilarious when I first read it, but this time I found Richard to be needlessly cruel and Letitia to be painfully needy. Letitia's hero worship idolization of Richard was very painful to read, even though I think it was supposed to be funny. This time around I could only grimace. Richard's antics were those of a spoilt drunk frat boy bully, and the reasons for him being that way are never fully explained away.
By the way, this original cover is so much better than the horrible butterflies on white background reprint.
There is also a secondary romance that really deserved more than a few pages tucked in between chapters. It was over way too fast.
Do you know what saved this book from utter disaster? Gus the dog. Letitia's dog Gus stole the show. Gus caused all kinds of mishaps and they are hilarious. Gus hates Richard so much that every time someone says "Richard", Gus growls, even when he's sleeping. Can't say that I blame him. I think Gus might be my all time favorite Romanceland animal.
So, I didn't like either the hero or heroine... but I did like Gus!
Time/Place: Regency England/Pirate Ship
Sensuality Rating: Almost Hot