May 5 2006
Dear Ms. Banning,
I’ve never read any of your books and I don’t think I’ll try another. It’s too bad that this one has such a wonderful cover (though it has nothing to do with anything that happened in the book). The inside stepback does look as if he’s examining her skin for zits, however.
Jane Charlotte Davis has been raised a Southern Belle in the small Oregon town to which her parents moved after the Damn Yankees won the War of Northern Aggression. Feckless Daddy has just passed on and left Jane and her mother with a pile of debts. Since most of the time mother lives in la-la land, it’s up to Jane to save their bacon. She plans to open a dress store but needs money and so is forced to go to the only bank in town.
Rydell Wilder pulled himself up from nothing to the respected position of sole banker in town. He’s loved Jane for 11 years and finally sees his chance to win her in marriage. He’ll loan her the money with herself as collateral. If she fails in her business, she has to marry him. Marry a Yankee?!, Jane gasps. Well, we’ll see about that. She won’t fail. She can’t fail. What would momma think?
The rest of the book is these two going through the motions. Jane opens the store and learns what real work is. Rydell watches her struggle and tries to woo her. Throw in a few silly subplots with scheming bitches after Rydell’s handsome ass, Rydell’s long lost daddy and fighting a brush fire and that’s about it. In between melting from his kisses, Jane learns that it’s better to be a Woman than a Lady and that marriage to a Yankee might not be all that bad.
This book is so ludicrous by the end that I just wanted it to be over. All the secondary characters have their own dialect which you try to faithfully reproduce. Jane’s mother’s simpering Southern Belle, Rydell’s friend’s gen-u-wine frontier gibberish, Odelia, the former slave’s Southern Darkie, and an Indian woman’s Noble Savage. All truly painful to read. And when you misuse y’all on the first page, I know I’m in trouble.
This’ll learn me to try an author without reading some reviews. Sigh, it really is too bad about the cover though. D+