The MacKenzies: Peter
There are some things I just don’t ever want to see in a romance novel, and two of those things appear in the first fifteen pages of The MacKenzie’s: Peter. The first no-no occurs when the heroine is having sex with someone other than the hero – in this case, the villain. The second no-no happens when the hero is having sex with someone other than the heroine – in this case, a whore. So, I’m fifteen pages into this book, and I’m already in trouble. Oh, and by the way, Peter is not a MacKenzie, he’s a Gifford – it’s the heroine who’s a MacKenzie (but not for long). To add to the confusion, Peter is not called Peter, but Giff. Sorry, but Frank “The Giff” Gifford’s face popped into my head each and every time Peter is referred to as Giff, and it was something I just couldn’t get past.
This is a long book – too long. If you could cut 200 pages from this 370 page book, you might have something here. Maybe. With something like twenty non-essential characters cluttering the landscape, the focus is often not on the hero and heroine, and the time that is spent on them is less than engaging.
Angel MacKenzie has been sent East to art school, but, in a too-stupid-to-live move, she abandons school to become a chorus singer with a traveling group of actors. The leading man seduces her, and when she finds herself pregnant, he takes off with the leading actress for parts unknown.
Peter Gifford is the foreman of the Roundhouse, the MacKenzie family’s Denver ranch. Giff has been in love with Angel for years and years, but has never said anything because he’s (gasp!) ten whole years older than she is (she’s 21). When he discovers the trouble Angel has gotten herself into, he offers to marry her. She almost turns him down because, while she loves him like a brother, she doesn’t want to ruin his life by making him take on a woman who is carrying a child not his own.
They marry but have a tough time working out the sleeping arrangements. To make things worse, Angel awakens one morning to discover she was not pregnant after all. Now she feels she’s married Giff under false false pretenses, but chooses not to confide in her sisters about how her marriage to Peter, uh, I mean Frank, uh, I mean Giff, came about, so there are lots of Big Misunderstandings that didn’t move the plot forward, but only served to irritate this reader.
The scummy actor who seduced then abandoned Angel has discovered that she’s rich, so he shows up again the middle of the book, along with some dialectically-challenged bad guys, and tries to convince Angel that he loves her, wants her back, and that his leaving her was an insensitive mistake on his part. But Angel is married to Giff now, so there’s really nowhere for this device to go.
I don’t know – I just had a lot of problems with this book. Inconsistencies occur here and there, but basically, I simply didn’t care about the characters. Here Giff has loved Angel for years, but when he discovers she’s had sex before marriage (this is 1880 Colorado) and has become pregnant, he doesn’t act angry or judgmental, as would have been in keeping with a man of that era. Giff was an okay hero, but Angel was basically dumb and uninteresting.
There are other MacKenzie books out there, and if you’ve read them and wish to continue the saga, you may find more here than I did. But I can’t really recommend this book, and there you have it.