Never Say Never!
Barbara Daly is an underrated comedy author. I’ve read two books by her so far, and both have been amusing romps with a pretty high cuteness quotient that rarely descends into saccharine sweetness. Never Say Never! is a very amusing runaway-bride story. During her wedding reception, Rhode Island heiress Tish Seldon seems to encounter evidence that her newlywed husband is determined to kidnap or kill her. She steals the gardener’s truck and flees to Wild River, Vermont, where she promptly gets stuck in the notorious spring mud. As luck would have it, she breaks down right in front of deputy sheriff Zeke Thorne, who is staking out the potential site of a chicken theft. As a man whose distaste for guns and other big-city lawman trappings is outmatched only by his aversion to love and marriage, he is dismayed when tiny, exquisite, mysterious Tish barrels into his life.
Daly, tongue firmly in cheek, riffs on the amnesia plot so beloved to series romance when she has Tish faking memory loss to escape Zeke’s probing questions. Zeke, thankfully, has a brain and doesn’t believe her for a second. He’s determined to unravel Tish’s mystery and get rid of her before she disrupts his life more than she has already. On top of living at his house and borrowing his clothing, the sheltered Tish has decided that he is going to be the man to teach her about passion. Before you know it, he’ll fall in love and, horror of horrors, his house will be littered with quiche, flowers, and doilies.
The story is nearly rompish perfection except for the oh-so-slightly over the top climax. Zeke also seems just a little too cuddly to be a convincing lawman (even a small-time deputy sheriff in rural Vermont). Otherwise, the book is most enjoyable, with funny, witty dialogue and amusing physical comedy. Sure, Never Say Never! is rather silly, but it’s so much fun that you probably won’t care. In fact, you might end up reading this story in one sitting, occasionally hooting with laughter and scaring your neighbors. Definitely recommended for people looking a cheerful, light-hearted read. Watch for Daly’s other work, as she’s proving to be a very funny author with considerable talent.