Do you recoil in horror when a black cat crosses your path? Live in fear that you might break a mirror and endure seven years of bad luck? If so, then Linsey Gordon is the heroine for you. If you’ve ever walked under a ladder on purpose, or failed to throw your spilled salt over your left shoulder, you might find her superstitious nature a little harder to comprehend. Unfortunately, I fall into the latter category, so Loving Linsey was a difficult read for me.
One black day, tragedy strikes Linsey Gordon. When she is at a funeral, she sees her own reflection in a mirror. To her, this means she will be dead before the year is out. Although she is horrified, she tries to make the best of the situation, and sets herself some goals to accomplish before her death. Her foremost goal is to get her step-sister Addie happily married before she passes on. Addie has always had a crush on the town’s doctor, Daniel Sharpe, so Linsey decides to do whatever she can to push Daniel and Addie together.
The problem is that Daniel despises Linsey. At first, I was dying to know why. I felt sure he had a really good reason – maybe she had jilted him at the alter because some omen had marred their wedding day? But it was nothing like that. Daniel hates Linsey because she was in a stagecoach when a rabbit passed. Linsey asked the driver to turn around and start the journey over (it was one of those luck things), and the driver accidentally overturned the coach. This sent a bag of mail into a river, and it was only retrieved a month later. Unfortunately, included in the mail was a message for Daniel telling him that if he wanted a fellowship to study surgery, he had to be in Maryland by a certain date. Because the mail was so late, Daniel missed the cut-off, so he has treated Linsey with utter contempt ever since.
Anyway, Linsey tries to throw Addie and Daniel together with scheme after stupid scheme. We can all see where the plot is going. Daniel will forgive Linsey and fall in love with her, and Addie will fall in love with another man. Linsey of course develops feelings for Daniel, but she considers him her sister’s property, and besides she’s going to die any day. Absurdly, Addie refuses to tell Linsey that she doesn’t love Daniel, because she doesn’t want to disappoint Linsey.
What we are left with is a silly misunderstanding plot – between the heroine and her sister, no less – and a heroine so superstitious that she comes across as ignorant. Both of these factors pretty much ruin the book. While Daniel is unforgiving, he does eventually get over it. Linsey remains superstitious to the bitter end. Some readers might find her cute, but I found her cloying. The bigger problem is Addie, who is so wishy-washy that she almost manages to ruin everyone’s life. Even though she doesn’t want to, she collaborates with all of Linsey’s lame ideas. And then when she falls in love with another man she can’t even tell her sister about it. Big misunderstanding plots are tough enough to take when they are between the hero and heroine; this one between Addie and Linsey is completely implausible and very annoying.
Some additional nitpicks: No one in 1880 would be named Linsey, particularly with that spelling, which was only familiar at the time as a fabric – linsey-woolsey. Naming your child Linsey would be like naming her Linen or Bombazine. Another problem is the cover, which is not the author’s fault. Not only does the hero look like a plastic action figure, he is shirtless, wearing jeans, and standing in front of a corral. Since Daniel is a doctor who spends the entire book dressed in really nice clothing, this cover is a real mismatch. Memo to Avon’s art department: Read some of the book before designing a cover.
This book is not without merit. Rachelle Morgan has a nice writing style that flows very well, and there is an interesting subplot between Daniel and his father. In fact, I would be willing to try another book by this author, something I rarely say about a book I’m grading this low. If you don’t mind superstitions and misunderstandings, you may find this book somewhat enjoyable. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work for me.
|Review Date:||June 3, 1999|