Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Lady of the West by Linda Howard ***

As I wrote in the entry for Angel Creek, I was lucky to get this in a Large Print 2-for-1 book with Angel Creek. However - the book has Angel Creek as the first story, but chronologically it's the second one in the series and this one should be read first to avoid character spoilers.

If you read my review of Angel Creek, you already know I have mostly contempt for the men - heroes and villains - in these 2 books. The men in this book are the worst. I mean, what bastards! Especially the Sarratt brothers, Ben and Jake, the 2 "heroes" which is only to mean they are the main protagonists. Jake is the #1 asshole, I mean hero.

The brothers witnessed their mother's rape and murder, and saw their father dead, and managed to escape some 20 years earlier at ages 13 and 11 with slight bullet damage. They have spent the past 20 years honing their gun skills and their anger because the killer took over their father's property and has been living on it ever since. They are gonna get it back, come hell or high water.

Now, 20 years later, their plan is ready - with one fly in the ointment. If they kill the bastard McLain who murdered their parents and stole their land, now his new bride - Victoria - will inherit. Victoria has just arrived from Augusta, GA, with her young cousin and sister in tow. She's basically been sold to the old guy, McLain, by her parents who were devastated in the war. Civil War.

McLain is really a bad guy, and lucky for Victoria, he can't seem to get his johnson to react so the marriage is never consummated. Jake has immediate lust for Victoria anyway and decides after he murders McLain, he'll marry her so he can have everything he wants - Victoria's pussy and the land. What a nice guy, huh? NOT. He pressures her a lot to let him have a little before he kills McLain - what's a little adultery between friends, right?

And just when you thought Jake was the biggest asshole, here comes Lil Brother Ben - who decides he'd like a piece of ass too - how about cousin Emma? But marry her? No way Jose. Just put out and shut up, that's his motto. Makes ya get all warm and squishy just thinking about it, huh? Good thing Emma's spine is a little stronger than Victoria's. She holds out for months.

Is this Linda Howard's idea of how men were in the old West, or is it just before she started writing great alpha heroes? I'm pretty sure a jury wouldn't take 20 minutes to convict either one of rape and assault. The brutes!! And frankly, I didn't find their technique that coma-inducing either - they had a sort of wham bam shut up ma'am way about them.

Meanwhile Luis (if you kept your scorecard from Angel Creek, he's the one who wanted whassername) has discovered what a treat little sister Celia is. Too bad she's written in as, well, slow. "Fey" was another way they put it. But it came across as mentally challenged. Yep, wasn't that sweet of him to show her his thing when she asked, all innocent and full of wonder. Remember, he's a gentleman and women love him. Even 16 year old mentally challenged women. (rape rape rape - jury verdict in 10 minutes on this one)

OK - there's some plot twists and turns - they do manage to kill McLain (he's actually killed by a woman servant McLain raped, robbing Jake and Ben of their right to murder him theirselves, dagnabit) and get the ranch back. At this point, Jake rapes Victoria, then marries her, then continues to rape her as much as possible. She, of course, falls in love with him, and lo and behold gets pregnant pretty quickly.

Now - he's not much of a talker, but he's a deep thinker. He's thinking she's holding some awful secret from him, but he doesn't know what. We know what it is - she's sad because she's in love with him, but she thinks he had only 2 choices - marry her or kill her for the land. She thinks this because BEN SAYS IT in front of her. Oh. So she's sad that she's just a piece of ass with land to him.

When she announces her pregnancy, he immediately decides it's McLain's baby, and well - he is a ratass bastard, so in his dark world, the baby has to go at birth and she can either go or stay. She tells him, no no, McLain never did it to her. This is when we learn he is also a batterer - he knocks her across the room, leaving her bruised and bloody. Does ANYONE like this guy?

Oh - but when the local whore tells him Victoria's telling the truth, McLain never touched Victoria and it's indeed his baby, sure, THEN he wants Victoria to forgive him, goddammit. Right. He believes a whore but not his wife. Yes, they'll have years and years of loving to look forward to, huh? NOT.

oooo it makes me mad to write this.

And yet - LH is a good story teller and excellent writer, so as mad as those ratass bastard Sarratt brothers made me, I'm still going with 3 stars. What a sucker I am.

1 comment:

Dev said...

I think people either love this story or hate it. I fall in the category of loving it, solely because of LH's storytelling ability. I'm not sure I could say the same if someone less talented had tackled the subject.