The Women of Primrose Creek: Skye
I became very angry as I was reading this book. Angry that I was wasting my time, angry that these characters were so stupid, and above all angry that a well-known author could write such a silly, derivative and cliched book. The best thing about Skye is that it is short.
Skye is the third book in Miller’s The Women of Primrose Creek series. Skye McQuarry is the third of four sisters/cousins who are the heroines of each book. She is headstrong, feisty, loves horses, owns acres of timberland, and is way too stupid to live. Jake Vigil is the hero, who was jilted by the second sister, Christy, in the previous book of this series. He is headstrong, bull-headed, loves horses, owns a timbermill and is also way too stupid to live. They are a perfect match. Oh yeah, he’s 34 and she’s 18. Perfect.
The plot, such as it is, opens with Jake desperately needing to buy timber from Skye in order to clinch a deal and get his mill out of the red. See if this makes sense to you: Skye owns over 600 acres of prime timberland, but she refuses to sell even one tree to our hero. In her own words, “These trees have stood here for hundreds of years…these are living things – I won’t allow you to murder them for money!”
Noble sentiments indeed, but this is 1869. It’s highly unlikely she was a member of the Green Party back then. But that’s not what makes her seem so stupid. What gives her a full scholarship into the TSTL Hall of Fame is that in the next breath she asks Jake if he could please sell her some lumber so that she can build a house. See, she wants to build a house and she won’t cut down any of her own trees (will she let the land be cleared to make room?) yet she’ll let somebody else cut down their trees while she pays for them. Good grief. Skye is clearly confused about her own values, and does a complete 180 later on when she explains to a child that judicious tree cutting is healthy for a forest because it allows the remaining trees to get more sunlight and water. Mind you, we never see her thinking about this and gradually changing her mind, rather she’s just the kind of girl who shoots off her mouth about any old subject whether she knows something about it or not.
Anther piece of the plot involves a wild stallion, which Jake and Skye and have each been tracking for months. Eventually, in another hallmark TSTL moment, Skye tracks the stallion down, but finds herself without a gun and surrounded by wolves. Jake finds her in the nick of time, saves her life and snares the horse. Does Skye:
a) thank Jake for saving her life,
b) graciously accept that the horse now belongs to Jake, or
c) throw a mini-temper tantrum claiming that Jake is a trespasser and horse thief?
You guessed it – she throws a mini-temper tantrum claiming that Jake is a trespasser and a horse thief. Jake is so enamored by this behavior that he proposes a horse race – if Skye wins, she gets to keep the horse, but if he wins, he gets to keep her by way of marriage. Of course both of them, deep down, actually want to marry the other but they are each too proud to say so. Ah, love.
Jake and Skye spend some pages agonizing over the fact that neither of them mentioned love when discussing this marriage (duh), then go ahead and race anyway, but not before Skye almost gets herself killed again trying to break the horse to saddle before the race. This is one gal with a death wish. The outcome of the horse race is never in doubt. Jake wins, they get married (that same day) and now he can get out of debt and use Skye’s timber, right? Wrong. In his own TSTL moment, Jake suddenly develops misplaced pride, and decides that as the man of the house he has to support his family himself, without his wife’s help. Never mind that this is impossible as he has a deadline in less than a month that he has already admitted he can’t make without Skye’s timber. Father knows best, and all that.
In a fit of love, Skye selflessly offers her timber anyway. Jake spurns the offer. Skye decides to go behind his back and help Jake by selling the needed timber to the client. Is Jake:
b) resigned, or
I don’t want to give away any spoilers here, so let’s just say it isn’t a) or b). There isn’t a whole lot of plot left. There are a few more calamities and a whole lot of insipid cameos by the principals from the previous two books who are there to let us know how their lives are getting on. Skye and Jake fall in love for no conceivable reason other than that they are meant to, and everybody lives happily ever after.
What makes me so angry when I read a book like this is that it is exactly the sort of book that gives romance novels a bad name. There is hardly a cliché that isn’t used, and the characters are drawn right out of central casting. Skye has the trait of perpetually lifting her chin. If she raised it one notch higher, she’d spend the whole book contemplating the clouds. Jake is old enough to be her father, yet no one seems concerned by this. And the plot was so pointless that I was angry that precious, living trees had to be sacrificed to print it.