Cameron has a mystery that is as transparent as glass and a hero who has got to be the dumbest, most thick-headed idiot in the world but I count it as one of my favorite comfort reads. So why am I willing to overlook all the problems? Because it has one of my very favorite heroines in the romance field – Anna Rose Palmer.
I sometimes get very tired of beautiful heroines. It even seems that the not-quite-beautiful ones are at least “interesting”. But Anna Rose in this story is not beautiful and not interesting looking. Instead she is average bordering on plain.
Britt Cameron runs a chicken farm in Riverton, Mississippi with his brother Wade. A while back Britt’s wife Tanya left him for the local minister and Britt (who is a hot-head) made some threats. When she was found dead, suspicion fell on him but he was exonerated by a jury. Still Tanya’s killer has not been found and people treat Britt with suspicion.
One rainy night Britt has a wreck in the small town of Cherokee, Alabama, and is rescued by Anna Rose Palmer. Anna Rose is tall, with brown hair and a plain, average face. Her only claim to beauty is her pretty blue eyes. She was born out of wedlock and raised by her cold grandmother and her kind grandfather who gave her all the love she ever had. Anna Rose is a warm-hearted woman who longs for someone to love and to love her, but in a community where the feminine ideal is a small, dainty, delicate little clinging vine, Anna Rose is too tall, too plain, too smart and too strong to appeal to anyone – until she meets Britt.
Britt is first attracted to Anna Rose when she gives him breakfast and proves to be an even better cook than his mama. As he gets to know her, he finds himself liking her very much. Britt’s wife Tanya, was a small, dainty, delicate little clinging vine and that relationship was a disaster. Anna Rose is very different from what Britt is used to and this big, strong, stubborn man finds himself drawn to this big, strong, stubborn woman in a way that surprises him.
The plot begins to get far fetched when Anna Rose becomes pregnant after only one sexual encounter. Britt marries her, but insists that he cannot love her. They are sexually compatable (and how!), she is a wonderful cook, he likes her enormously, they have shared interests, and he loves being with her and misses her like crazy when they are apart. Britt – you idiot – what more do you want!!!
The identity of Tanya’s killer is apparent from the first sentence and the apprehension is accomplished way too easily. Once Britt’s reputation is restored and all is back to normal, he still insists he cannot love. It was then that Anna Rose did a wonderful thing. She didn’t lay around and let herself be walked on – she up and left Britt and told him that she deserved to be loved and would not stay with someone who did not love her. You go, Anna Rose!
Of course, Britt finally gets it through his thick skull that he does love Anna Rose and they are reunited in a quite shamelessly melodramatic scene. Despite the problems I had with this book, it still is a favorite comfort read because of Anna Rose. I loved it that she was not beautiful, I loved it that she was not a sweet little thing, and I loved how she insisted that she was worthy of Britt’s love and would not stay where she was not loved. What a woman!
Cameron is a good example of a book where one good element – in this case a wonderful heroine – can compensate for other elements that don’t quite work. When it comes to series romances, Beverly Barton is one of my favorites and she is one of the best at writing strong, yet feminine heroines who will not put up with bad behavior. I wonder what Anna Rose would do if she was faced by one of Diana Palmer’s arrogant, ultra-macho jerks? Probably whomp him upside the head and leave him sitting in the dust. Now there’s a scene I’d love to see.