It’s still early yet, but Heart’s Desire already has my vote for worst read of the year. The lead characters behave abominably toward each other, the heroine’s introduction to the hero made me laugh out loud, and the author threw in so many catastrophes, it seemed like a parody of the worst soap opera.
Thirty-year-old virgin Kara Smith discovers – on her mother’s death bed – that her father is alive after all, and that he is Congressman Sidney Eastman, Republican poster-boy for the conservative cause. Vowing revenge toward the man who left her mother pregnant because she was “too black,” she blackmails (no pun intended) her way onto his staff and finds true love with aide Brent Stevens. Along the way she meets her alcoholic half-sister Jenny, who wants Brent in the worst way, her half-brother Dante, who hits on Kara because he thinks his father is sleeping with her, and Sidney’s wife Tiffany (Tiffany was not a typical name for women of this era, and particularly not for African-American women of this era), who, when she isn’t introducing Kara to her interior decorator, or befriending Kara as a pal for Jenny, accuses Kara of sleeping with her husband.
Some of the notes I jotted down while reading the book:
- On page 4, when virginal Kara seduces Brent: “Her shell-pink tongue darted out and moistened her lips. It wasn’t a nervous gesture, but a slow, provocative, studied one. Matching wine-tinted fingernails traveled caressingly from her chin and brushed her right nipple. He saw the nipple harden visibly. . . .Then, her fingers circled the other nipple lightly and rubbed, hardening it to match the right one.”
- On page 7, after assuming Kara is a prostitute, Brent performs oral sex on her. When I asked my husband whether he thought this was realistic, he answered, “That would be like drinking a sewer.”
- The Eastman’s invite Kara to dinner and she is served bouillabaisse as an appetizer. That would be akin to serving steak as dessert.
- Brent suspends Kara for insubordination for the following statement: “You–you monster!” Having actually suspended an employee in a civil service environment for insubordination, I know what insubordination is, and that ain’t it.
Am I being picayune? Perhaps – but when I’m taking notes while reading a book, that’s a sure sign the book’s a wallbanger. The story degenerates into a series of tragedies: Jenny, who likes her booze, shows up nekkid at Brent’s place, and when he turns her down, gets drunk and has a car accident resulting in major injury to herself, and death to two others. Brent’s guilt causes him to agree to marry Jenny, even though he’s beginning to fall in love with Kara. Later. . . about twenty pages later, he dumps Jenny over her drinking, and Tiffany checks into an alcoholic treatment center. Jenny gets drunk again. Kara and Brent make love. Jenny discovers that her friend Kara is sleeping with her ex-fiance and decks Kara. Kara and Brent make love. Jenny fails to show up for her murder trial. Kara and Brent make love.
When Kara and Brent aren’t making love, they are not trusting the other. Dante leaks the incriminating evidence Kara had discovered to the press, and Brent and Kara each think the other was the leak. The Congressman beats his wife, Dante confronts his father, his father shoots him and is arrested, and the truth about Kara comes out when she donates her blood (unusual blood type, of course), to save Dante. Of course, she gets dehydrated in the process, loses consciousness, and has to be admitted to the hospital herself. And, oh, by the way, guess who’s pregnant? Wait, there’s more! Brent breaks up with Kara when he finds out who she is, Kara and Tiffany move in together, and when Brent discovers Kara’s pregnant, goes after her and apparently moves in as well, even though Kara screams that she hates him. The Congressman goes off his nut and breaks into the house, with dreams of grilling Tiffany, but Kara gets in his way. All this in two hundred pages! How will it end? I wouldn’t dream of giving it away!
When I review a book, I pride myself in revealing as little of the plot as I can, except when the plot itself is ludicrous. The plot is ludicrous, the characters are all awful, and it appeared as though the author didn’t research the Hill all that well.