R1. The Farmer Takes a Wife by Barbara Gale

(NB: Whereas I'm going to try to keep the Top 100 reviews as spoiler-free as possible, I'm pretty much doing the opposite for the romance novels. Also in lieu of the publishing year I'm including some more pertinent/hilarious information.  And let's not get ridiculous about ratings, either. -M.R.)

The Farmer Takes A Wife (Silhouette Special Edition)Pages: 245

Pairing: doctor and farmer
First Sentence: oops...
Climax: "Then the world spun and together they shattered into a million pieces."

Of course you can't expect great things from a book that takes its title from a children's song and yet professes to be a romance novel. All I wanted was a quick read with lots of purple sexual prose, and instead I got 245 pages of utter tedium. So I wasn't expecting great things at all. The bar was set so low it was practically on the ground.

And yet still I was disappointed. I admit I've never read a Harlequin romance novel before, but I thought these things would at least be edited! Instead there are mistakes and bizarre continuity issues throughout.

Okay so anyway, Dr. Maggie Tremont gets stranded in a remote mountain village in New Hampshire. She has an astonishingly bad flu. She is a barren old maid (40ish) from Boston. She's nursed back to health by an old lady and our hero, Rafe Burnside, a "reclusive" farmer who has an apple orchard, the admiration of the entire town (for some reason), broad shoulders, a broken heart, and an eight year-old son. Also he reads The Nation, which I had to look up.

Rafe's wife left him after the kid was born, and he's been something of a broken man ever since, which is apparently a good enough excuse for him to be a giant creep to Maggie, sleep with her, then tell her he's not interested, then agree to be just friends, and then randomly propose. Maggie, meanwhile, is pretty lonely in her life back in Boston, so she decides she might as well just move out to the town and singlehandedly revitalize it with a farmer's market. That doesn't explain why she accepts Rafe's proposal, though.

This is all a mess, of course. Basically there's sexual tension and heartache, except that none of it actually registers because the characters are all flat and not at all compelling. I hated Rafe and Maggie and nearly everyone else in the book. People in this book actually say the word "townsfolk" with straight faces. Also there's this very weird obsession with the term "medical care."

Also, one day I hope to discover why it's apparently not acceptable to use "swear words" in books that contain graphic depictions of sex.

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Truthfully, Rafe was not annoyed. Actually, he was pretty pleased, Maggie just didn't know how to read him. He would've counted himself a fool not to realize his good fortune being tied—metaphorically speaking, of course—to an interesting woman like Maggie. Her energy, her smile and her kindness charmed the socks off Rafe.
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Was that what they called a six-pack?
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And then this scrawny, rain-soaked woman drives into Primrose on a godawful thunderous night, sneezing into a wad of dirty tissues—and his heart starts thumping like the Mad Hatter. (Is this simile as ridiculous as I suspect it is? -M.R.)
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And all the ice cream in the world could not sweeten his pain.
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1 comment:

  1. Um...how does the Mad Hatter "thump," exactly? Makes no sense!

    And yes, that WAS what they called a six-pack! hahahah!

    Great start to the romance side of the project! :)