Nov 1 2006
Dear Ms. MacKay aka Welfonder:
The name change is so sly. And who says brands aren’t important! I confess that had I known that Ms. MacKay was Ms. Sue Ellen Welfonder, I wouldn’t have read this book because despite the repackaging: better covers, new name, the writing is still the same. The cover quote says this is a “yummy paranormal romp.” It wasn’t yummy. It was barely a paranormal and it wasn’t romp-ish in anyway. Romp suggests fun and there was no fun to be had in this story. It’s not a paranormal comedy. It’s a melodramatic tale full of mental lusting and piss poor worldbuilding.
Let me first address the worldbuilding. Sir Alexander Douglas is a ghost who has haunted a bed that was to be his betrothal bed. We have no idea how he has haunted it in the past. That is seemingly unimportant. We do know that his ghostly life has been kept company with sequel bait, Hardwin de Studley. To show us how manly these two are Hardwin boasts of the women that they shared. I am not sure when, in the lexicon of romancelandia, the sharing of women became a benchmark for virility.
These ghosts can do everything that humans can. They eat, drink, have sex, can get the pox. There are even ghost whores. There are no boundaries to their ghostly existence. They can port to here or there with no trauma involved. They live for centuries. Oh, and the fey and Valkryies exist in this world too. Further, there is no explanation why Alex has remained celibate for centuries or why Hardwin de Studley can have sex with impunity but Alex is cannot. There is no consistency in the world building. There is no definition to the world building.
Mara MacDougall inherits a castle, alot of money from a very distant relative, Lady Warfield. Lady Warfield was a MacDougall and stipulates that Mara must bring the MacDougall clan together and bring honor to her name. Flush with Warfield’s money, Mara buys the haunted bed and hies off to Ravenscraig castle. Alex goes with the bed, determined to haunt it. But he doesn’t do much to haunt her other to make her hawt. Many pages are spent explaining the lust Alex has for Mara. We are treated to dozens of “oh how I hate the MacDougalls but cannot look away from the creamy lobes and thrusting tips of this particular MacDougall.”
Mara is attracted to this person who appears out of nowhere and seemingly despises her. For a girl who is supposedly to have some savvy, growing up in the tenements and on the “mean streets of Philly”, she acts pretty stupid. Climbing down precarious rocks and venturing into caves when she was told that the tide could drown her. She decides to ride a horse despite having no experience. She also talks like a Philly native:
Mercy, she was sure her heart had stopped beating. He knew. She’d near swooned at the sight of his gorgeous sex, and he was taunting her.
I am sure that “Mercy” and “swooning” are oft used phrases in the Philly tenement.
For those readers who want to know, Alex does engage in a sexual encounter with another woman before Mara and he consumate their relationship but well into their emotional relationship. I know this is an issue with readers and wanted to point it out and say how unnecessary it was.
Lust is the only connection that they have. Most of the pages are spent with Alex contemplating Mara’s body and Mara contemplating Alex’s body and how their mutual physical admiration leads to destiny defying love. Mara thinks that he is hot despite the fact that Alex appears to hate her. Alex is turned on by her creamy breast, glorious nipples, and her bewitching and exotic scent. The paranormal aspect is totally tacked on with no real thought given to the parameters of the world or the life of a ghost. The sex is bad. The characterizations are bad. It’s a sad excuse for a paranormal romance. D.