To Tame a Renegade

Connie Mason
2003 reissue of 1998 release, Frontier/Western Hist Romance (1880s Wyoming)
Leisure, $5.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 0505525089
Part of a series

Grade: F
Sensuality: Hot

The database was not programmed to accept F+ and F- grades; this review was originally an F-

Don't bother. The End.

I guess I can't leave it at that - you'll want details. Well, I can't review this book. Sorry, I just can't. I'm not even going to tell you the plot. It's too inane. As I read this book, I found myself becoming more and more irritated by the inane inconsistencies, the inane characters, and the inane plot. I got half-way through, and finally gave up. That's right - I did not finish this book, and I don't intend to.

I knew I was in trouble when, on page 3, Chad Delaney rode "his spirited black stallion down the rutted road, noting the vast number of saloons on the main drag." Main drag? In 1882 Wyoming? Sounds like 1955 Bikerville. Then, on page 6 - three pages later! - Chad "patted the big gray gelding, his favorite…" Not only a horse of a different color, but somewhere on that trip down the "main drag," poor horsy lost some very important body parts! I can certainly see why he was no longer so spirited.

Things went downhill from there.

Sarah Somethingorother is a social pariah. She has borne a child, Abner, out of wedlock, and the entire town, including her way over-the-top religious parents, have made her an outcast, labeling her a whore. Chad comes along and saves little Abner from a pounding by some rough boys, and takes the kid home. In a matter of seconds, Chad buys the taunts of "whore" the ruffians had leveled Abner's mother, so he shows up at Sarah's expecting to find a slut at the door.

He immediately tells Sarah she should be a better parent and starts railing at her about child care (a subject with which he is not at all familiar). Since she is not a whore, like duh, to earn a living, Sarah takes in laundry. During their argument, Chad and Sarah do a tug-of-war thing over a kettle, and Chad abruptly lets go, causing Sarah to fall into a vat of boiling water, severely burning her hands and arms. How does he react? He pulls his gun when she screams (in agony) thinking her screams mean trouble. Like, what an idiot! Then, when he is forced to take care of her and the boy, he whines, and moans, and carries on about how this situation has just really interrupted his plans to catch the bad guy. He never even says he's sorry she got hurt, or takes responsibility for his part in having caused her horrific injuries.

Later, Chad has to help Sarah change clothes, and he begins making sexual innuendoes to her, even though nothing has happened between them. After one of his tasteless remarks, Sarah "flushed and gazed down at her bathrobe tellingly." Bathrobe? In 1882? A wrapper, maybe. Then, there are the words and actions which create images that are not only inconsistent, but very off-putting. "You look much better," Carrie said approvingly. "I'll just empty this chamberpot for you and see about breakfast." Eeeeeww! I read this part to my 13-year-old daughter. Know what she said? Eeeeeww! (I don't want to gross you out, but she went on to make a hysterical reference to breakfast links that is better left to your imagination.)

I found something on virtually every page that had me shaking my head. But, the final straw came for me when Chad tries to get Sarah in the sack. He still insists she must be a whore (because local ruffians have such a reputation for credibility, after all), even in the face of overwhelming evidence that she is not, plus Sarah has explained that Abner was the result of a rape. Sad over her unfair treatment, Sarah begins to cry and says, "I'm not a whore, no matter what you've heard. Granted I'm an unwed mother, but that doesn't make me a bad person." Ahhhhhhh!

Much has been said of how reviewers treat reviews of books they have not cared for. I try to keep my reviews fair and honest without going for the jugular. But I have to say, this was probably the worst published book I have ever read. I'm sorry, my aim is not to hurt anyone. But I am truly at a loss ... it is a complete mystery to me how a book so poorly written, so badly edited, with page-after-page-after-page of glaring inconsistencies, historical inaccuracies, and inane dialogue, ever got published in the first place.

P.S. The minus in F- is for that poor horse. Someone really should have caught that one.

-- Marianne Stillings

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