Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.
Midsummer Magic - Catherine Coulter I've inherited bags and boxes of quickie beach read novels from my mother and sister that I'm in the process of going through and releasing via In one of these piles I found Catherine Coulter's Midsummer Magic, originally published in 1987 as part of her "Magic Trilogy."::: Bodices Ripping Right and Left :::Philip Hawskbury was the second son, and expected a carefree life in the military. After his older brother's death, however, he inherited the title Earl of Rothermere as well as his father's promise to a Scotsman who'd saved his life. When his father appears to be about to take his last breath, Hawk promises to travel to Scotland to marry one of the daughters of the man who saved his father's life. Once there, he finds two beautiful girls (Clare and Viola) and the homely, frumpy Frances. Frances has actually disguised herself in hopes that Hawk won't choose her, but Hawk decides that an unattractive wife who doesn't require much socially is perfect; he can dump her off at his country estate and go back to his life in society and with his mistress.Hawk dutifully tries to impregnate Frances before he returns to London, but once there, is instructed by his mistress that he should make love to his wife just like a mistress. When Hawk heads back to his country home, he finds out that his wife is actually intelligent and beautiful, and has set out to restore the horse racing and breeding program (with some help from Hawk's scheming father) that his older brother had going at the estate before his death. Along the way, Hawk discovers that he loves his wife, and also that things with the horses and his brother might not have been exactly what they seem.::: Giving a Bad Name to Romances :::Midsummer Magic is a prime example of why so many people look down on the romance genre as a whole, and could serve as a textbook for what NOT to do in a romance novel. It follows the formula for introducing the hero and heroine and starting them out at odds with each other, but it goes SO far past that to prove a point that it's actually nauseating. Who on earth would want to read love scenes that are about as romantic as an artificial insemination for livestock? And then to go father, after Hawk has essentially raped his wife repeatedly, he dresses her as a boy and has her come down to the stables to watch them breed horses to get her in the mood. How ROMANTIC!The character of Hawk is so dense that you want to slap him even realizing that this is a period romance, and the attitudes of men toward their wives were probably pretty much like this. The fact that he is so dense as to think that wives didn't require or deserve the same care and concern during lovemaking that mistresses is beyond ignorant, and the reader hopes against hope that there is actually another strapping young man who will ride in and sweep Frances off her feet before this Neanderthal swings his figurative club again.I like reading a good romance novel, especially in the summer when it's too hot to think, but this one had me so annoyed it couldn't even serve its purpose as a poolside trifle.This review previously published on Epinions:

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