It’s a good thing when a book’s hero reminds you of a famed romantic movie or TV character. It’s a bad thing when the one he reminds you of is Christopher Walken’s Saturday Night Live character, The Continental.
As I read this book, the truth is that I found myself shaking my head just as emphatically as The Continental’s reluctant companion so often does. And, to make matters even worse, my own maturity level dropped substantially while struggling through the 342 pages of this very long book since I found myself thinking “he, he” in true seventh grade fashion every time the hero mentioned that he was one of the fey. This is not good.
So, what in heck is this story about? Well, to put it really simply – and it is a simple story told in about 150 too many pages – Rebecca, our poor heroine, is rescued by a mysterious Swedish count when her coach slides into a ditch during her attempted escape from the e-e-e-v-i-l wastrel father who’s sold her hand in marriage. Only Klaus isn’t really a count, he’s actually some kind of prince because his servants call him “your highness” which he must constantly correct because in the mortal world he’s a mere “my lord” and he just knows they’ll slip in the presence of the beauteous Rebecca.
Readers aren’t in the dark for long regarding his true identity and purpose in visiting the mortal world because the author gives Klaus a servant/companion in whom he conveniently confides. It turns out our count is really a prince of the otherworld who draws his strength from the waterfall near the country cottage to which he takes our heroine. His fate is to return to the waterfall every mating season and sire a male child on a mortal woman who he will then completely abandon once he returns to the otherworld only to come back next mating season to do it all again. Nice guy, don’t you think?
Of course, as his faithful servant/companion tells him over and over, Rebecca would be the chosen one – this year’s model, anyway – since she’s thrown so dramatically into his world just when mating season kicks into high gear. But, wait, matters aren’t quite that simple! It seems that Klaus, in exchange for giving up his immortality, always has the option of falling in love with a mortal and choosing to remain in our world.
The book swings back and forth between Klaus slipping Rebecca some kind of herbal rohypnol so she can observe his naked night time doings at the waterfall, not to mention rounding paranormal third base while floating in fairy land; interference from Rebecca’s furious father who tries to force her to marry the man to whom he sold her hand in marriage; assorted adventures in the otherworld; and really mean sprites who are supposed to be some kind of “handmaidens” for Klaus and who don’t look all that fondly on the beauteous Rebecca.
To be honest, the cheese factor here – not to mention the purple prose – is pretty much off the charts and, if the book weren’t so darn long, there might have been some pleasure in that. But, on the other hand, it’s always a deal breaker for me when an author trying to put over a plot like this one clearly expects the reader to take it as seriously as she does, as exemplified over and over again by incredibly ponderous dialogue. Klaus speaketh fancy, fellow readers, and I found myself wanting to kicketh his windbag-y butt on more than one occasion.
Hey, I’m a proud romance reader and I’m all for sexy counts (or princes, for that matter) and mysterious doings on the moor and even on occasion e-e-e-v-i-l fathers in pursuit of innocent maidens. Sadly, however, I just couldn’t buy in any way, shape, or form this overblown tale of the mortal woman and her fey hero. (He, he.)