Breaking All the Rules
How much you like Breaking All The Rules will probably depend on whether you think the heroine and her mentor are eccentric and spirited, or strange and annoying. As you can tell from the grade above, I, unfortunately, could see little worthy of adulation or even amusement, and the story was, for the most part, a chore to read.
Mary Todd is about to be declared legally incompetent by her greedy nephew Linus, whose only concern regarding his aunt is how soon he can get his hands on her property and live off the money he’ll get from selling it to the highest bidder. Mary’s lawyer, Richard Haversham Wesley III, seems to have her case under control, until Mary’s refusal to testify gives Linus the edge and he is declared Mary’s legal guardian. Mary seems not to care, having apparently (to everyone but the reader, that is) fallen into a depression that could prove fatal to someone of her advanced years.
Someone who definitely and most vehemently does care is Mary’s young friend and protégé Erin Kelly, who verbally attacks Richard for being a terrible lawyer. Of course, Richard finds her completely adorable and undeniably sexy and begins calling her his “Irish Valkyrie.” She, in turn, continues to attack him but also calls him “Richard the Third” and thinks of him as a pirate.
Erin is determined to save her mentor Mary, and decides that it will take a Mary-esque (meaning outlandish) plot to get her friend out of trouble. Mary is a legend in Paradise Beach for her spirit and her penchant for stirring things up when life gets too boring. Things such as hiring someone to pilot a flying fortress to do a bombing raid on the town’s beach in order to save a mysterious egg, an event that brought the town together and only added to Mary’s legendary status. Erin decides to go ahead with her plan to help Mary and bring others into her plot, even if it means that the situation ends up getting more and more out of control.
As far as the lead characters go, I couldn’t see past the annoyance that is supposed to represent Erin’s “spirit” or “feistiness.” And while Richard was definitely the nicer of the two leads, he lost points for falling for Erin while being bombarded by her hysterics. The secondary characters, including Mary Todd, Erin’s vampish sister Seana, and Erin’s actor friend Dan, as well as assorted residents of Paradise Beach who exist solely to be comic relief, were more examples of forced “zany” humor that didn’t quite hit the mark. Example: characters who don’t know how stupid they really are can be absolutely hysterical if treated with a subtle hand, but that was nowhere to be found here.
I have been looking for a new, funny author, since I have re-read all my Rachel Gibson and Susan Elizabeth Phillips books a bunch of times, but after reading Breaking All The Rules, I don’t think it’s such a bad idea to go back to those truly funny books one more time.