Tame Me Not
I got off on the wrong foot with Tame Me Not, and unfortunately, I suspect that a lot of other people will as well. The book starts off with Mignonne Saint-Sylvestre, a teenage heroine finishing up a night of work as a “highwayman.” Mignonne, it seems is your basic too-feisty-to-live heroine. Like many tomboy types in romance novels, she rebels against being limited because she is a woman by dressing as a man. Mignonne however, takes her ambition further than most. She is hell bent on becoming, of all things, a King’s Musketeer.
Once I had read enough about Mignonne to be rolling my eyes, enter hero Chevalier Chancery Lambert, a lieutenant in the Musketeers. When he meets Mignonne we are treated to such things as Chance talking to his, uh, arousal. “Just look, don’t indulge,” he coached that lustful organ that tended to lead him into danger more often than his common sense.
About this time I was ready to throw the book at the wall. Instead, I stopped and said to myself, “You’re putting me on.” And then I realized that it was true – Tame Me Not is a put-on.
What a revelation! Had this book not been a romance, I would have seen it, but romance novels tend to take themselves very seriously. Tame Me Not takes nothing seriously, and if you are willing to laugh along with author Michele Hauf, she will take you on a pretty entertaining ride.
Tame Me Not is a romp. Mignonne is a female d’Artagnan and the book is a kind of parody of Dumas’s The Three Musketeers. If you remember, d’Artagnan is a country bumpkin who sets off to become a King’s Musketeer. Initially he is a dismal failure, but he perseveres and eventually proves his worth. Well, this is the story of a young girl who escapes her brothers (who are trying to put her in a convent) to try and join the King’s Musketeers. Along the way she meets a real Musketeer who spends the rest of the book trying to capture her for her brothers. Mignonne may be unrealistic, but she is clever and brave and it’s fun watching her outwit all these big strong men. In one hilarious scene she escapes by dressing as – a woman. They never suspect!
Mignonne is beyond feisty. She’s a tomboy and an athlete. Yes, her dream of being a soldier is childish, but being a teenager, she is just getting over being a child. To imagine Mignonne, picture Mary Lou Retton or a very young Billy Jean King trying to become a musketeer.
The hero, Chevalier Chancery Lambert is just a big lug. There was no question in my mind that when they finally married, Mignonne would be the brains of the operation. Chance drove me crazy at the start of the book, because he was obsessed with memories of his evil dead wife. Even for a farce, this was carried much too far. We hear so many times how Chance can never love again that I was ready to shake him. Another flaw in the book is that Chance’s behavior is less than stellar. He takes Mignonne to his bed knowing that she is a virgin and not completely sure that his evil wife is dead. But Chance was just not very bright. I forgave him, I think, because the setting of the novel was intentionally bawdy. How much can we expect from a guy who talks to his body parts?
I enjoyed Tame Me Not because it was broad, funny and true to the story it was trying to tell. No, it is not the kind of intense romance I usually go for but it made for an entertaining change and was quite a lot of fun. Now I’m off to rent the old Raquel Welch/Michael York film The Three Musketeers. Tame Me Not put me in just the right mood.