The Education of Madeline
Note to self: Step away from the Brava westerns. The Education of Madeline is the second one I’ve read in recent months, and it’s as disastrous as the first. I’m starting to get the impression that readers who want something more than a sexual checklist should look elsewhere for their entertainment.
Madeline Brewster is a rich woman in a small Colorado town – a set of circumstances which has brought her nothing but isolation and unhappiness. One day, she hears that a man is about to be hanged for stealing a horse. She rushes to stop this travesty, and ends up taking him into her own custody until his innocence or guilt can be determined. Secretly, she has an ulterior motive. He’s really tall, and since she herself measures six feet, she knows Teague O’Neal is the perfect man to show her the delights of sex. On his first night in her home, she surprises him with her naughty proposal: If he initiates her into the arts of love, she’ll pay him $500.
What she doesn’t know is that people are practically lining up to pay Teague $500. The judge and sheriff were really only pretending to hang Teague, in the hopes that Madeline would come by, stop the hanging, and take Teague into her custody. They want Teague to spy on her so they can “prove” that she’s stealing money. Now, you may be asking yourself if this makes sense. How did they know Madeline was going to come by and stop the hanging? Were they prepared to wait as long as it took, in case she was busy that day? How did Madeline know that Teague would be tall enough to bed her? But while you may be asking these questions, you can rest assured that the author never bothered. Just like she never bothered to find out that LoDo (Lower Downtown Denver) was not yet called LoDo in 1872. But I digress.
Teague tells Madeline that he’ll need to think about her offer for awhile, so he asks for a week’s time to consider. Then he changes his mind and decides he doesn’t need the whole week. He begins initiating Madeline into love-making, progressing from kisses to fondling to intercourse. And more intercourse. But he has no intention of giving her his heart, because he once has a wife and child who were murdered right after he returned from fighting in the Civil War. Meanwhile, Madeline realizes that something is strange at her bank. Employees are acting weird, and she isn’t sure whom to trust.
After Madeline and Teague have sex in every way possible, likely checking each way off on a clipboard as they go (or at least that’s about how it reads), they are officially in love. Teague comes clean about his fake hanging, and Madeline realizes that she needs legal help to save her bank. How does she realize this? Well, one day she decides that there should be paperwork somewhere. She’s a little foggy about how all that happens, but she knows that when people take out loans or deposit money, it should be written down (probably), and she can’t find any records. She spends the afternoon writing down everything she remembers from the last few weeks. I know what you’re thinking: “I wish I banked here! This woman is a financial genius!” Really, that’s just the beginning. I’m not even going to get into her misinformation campaign about the mysterious treasure trove in her closet.
So Teague and Madeline go to Denver to find a lawyer, get married, get arrested (separately), are vindicated, and move to Denver, where they stun everyone with their futuristic knowledge about how one day, over a hundred years in the future, people will be calling lower downtown LoDo. (Yes, I made that last part up).
So clearly, this is a book with some problems. And there are others. Characters appear when they are needed and disappear when they are not. There’s another spy Madeline takes in (Isaiah) who randomly disappears from the story when he doesn’t “need” to be there. Several friends show up without previous introduction. When they need someone to watch the house, there’s this former Rebel soldier who Madeline rescued one time. Then when they need to get married in the middle of the night, Teague’s commanding officer, who is now a reverend living in Denver, appears on the scene. Maybe I could have forgiven some of this, if I’d cared about Teague or Madeline, or believed they could exist. Since I didn’t, it made for some tortuous reading.
So it comes down to this: Why do you read historical romance? How wallpaper-y can the history be? Does common sense matter to you? How about logic? If the answers are “Because I like to read about sex, sex, and more sex,” “very,” “no,” and “no,” then perhaps The Education of Madeline is the book for you. If not, well, you’re better off getting your “education” elsewhere (P.S…googling LoDo only takes five seconds).
I've been at AAR since dinosaurs roamed the Internet. I've been a Reviewer, Reviews Editor, Managing Editor, Publisher, and Blogger. Oh, and Advertising Corodinator. Right now I'm taking a step back to concentrate on kids, new husband, and new job in law...but I'll still keep my toe in the romance waters.
|Review Date:||March 12, 2009|
|Book Type:||American Historical Romance | Frontier/Western Hist Romance|
|Review Tags:||Frontier Romance | Frontier/Western Historical Romance | Reconstruction era | Western romance|