Friday, February 6, 2009

Tall, Dark and Cajun by Sandra Hill ****

It's not uncommon for me to have a certain rating in mind while I read, then have the ending change it for me. I was going along at a 3 - 3.5 star, mostly because I was unhappy with the heroine, then Hill put in a 5 star ending that brought the book to a solid 4 star rating for me.

This is the second in her Cajun series, which feature the 3 sons and 1 daughter of Valcour LeDeux, from somewhere around Houma, Louisiana (way south in bayou country). Remy is the hero of this book. Remy lives a pretty solitary life - he's a casualty of the first war in Iraq, where he was shot down and suffered burns and injuries over half his body. Half his gorgeous face is marred by burn scars. He now operates a helicopter business, part tourist trips and part undercover work for the DEA.

The heroine is Rachel Fortier - in spite of her half-Cajun genealogy, she was raised in the north (and by north, I mean north of Baton Rouge) in various foster homes after her mother abandoned her. Her father died, but his mother Gizelle still lives near Houma, with land next to Remy. Rachel is a decorator, engaged to a plastic surgeon in Washington DC. At the beginning of the book, she's just learned that her fiance has had a vasectomy without telling her. This is the final straw for her relationship, since he spends a lot of time telling her she's too fat and buying her workout equipment. She ends the relationship, and runs off to spend some time Granny Fortier, a woman she's just learned about after she found her mother.

Hill likes the Thunderbolt Approach To Love: love at first sight in a big way, and when Rachel sees Remy and vice versa, there's chemistry oozing from the pages. But Granny Fortier has never liked Remy's father, and forbids her to have anything to do with Remy. As if.

The big conflict here - and this part really pissed me off - is that, after 2 weeks of hot monkey sex on the bayou, they've declared love and feelings but both keep saying there is no marriage. However, when Remy reveals his big secret to her - a secret no one except his doctors know - she goes apeshit. Turns out he's sterile from the injuries that caused his disfigurement. And because he didn't tell her, in effect LYING TO HER even though she swears it is not about having children, she refuses to have any more to do with him.

Now, this is a woman who is theoretically ready to beat up anyone who treats Remy with any kind of disdain over his scars, and yet she is shallow enough to accuse him of LYING TO HER because he didn't say right off the bat he was sterile? I don't know about you, but I found that conceit disgusting on her part, and I could barely forgive her at the end. And she thought he should apologize to HER? Hello?

Meanwhile, he's so humiliated he can barely breathe - once again, he's been rejected because he fought for his country and was injured. But he sucks it up enough to share the reason with his family, and they rally around and find a very romantic way to bring them back together. Not that Rachel deserved it, in my opinion.

As I've said before, Hill's humor and writing style is an acquired taste, and I think you also have to be in the right mood to find the humor in it. But I went into her weird world and enjoyed it (except for wanting to bitch-slap Rachel several times). Having grown up in Cajun Louisiana, I can appreciate a lot of the situations and humor. I will say this - having Rachel's adoptive parents die in an earthquake in Brazil was over the top, even for Hill. I guess the usual car accident for killing off parents or former spouses would have been too run-of-the-mill?

1 comment:

Carpoolqueen (formerly known as Beth) said...

I totally agree with you. I was really pi$$ed at Rachel too. I mean give a guy a break! He didn't lie to her...It wasn't her business yet! Geez!! I like Sandra Hill's books. I like the silliness sometimes. I loved Remy and had to warm up to Rachel. I've read all the "Cajun" novels and all the Jinx except the last one. I liked "Love Potion" the best. Nekkid Dancing!!! Samson and Delilah (the sex crazed rats) had me crackin up. Great Review.