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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bayou Heat

*** Bayou Heat by Donna Kauffman. Contemporary romance.

This one is, I believe, from the flea market, where I'd get a grocery bag full of books every couple of months--at 3/$1 paperbacks, 5/$1 for category romances. Meaning it's been in my TBR pile for at least 44 months. I feel marginally guilty about it, but the fact is that none of the books I bought there were ones I'd ever have bought new anyway.

Ethnobotanist Dr. Erin McClure is in the bayou to study the plants voodoo practitioners use in their ceremonies. She's asked for a local guide, but didn't expect Teague Comeaux to show up bloody and naked in her bathtub.

Which pretty much sets the stage for their relationship, and for the story in general.

Erin is determined to do her research, and is confident of her ability to get along in the swamp, as she's the veteran of research projects in many other uninviting and dangerous areas. Teague, however, is protective of his grandmother, head of the local voodoo community. He's also on the track of drug runners who are using the voodoo mystique to hide their activities in the swamps.

Stripped to its essence, it's an exciting, entertaining story: the hero and heroine at cross purposes, the intrigue of discovering who's involved and how. Erin's even an admirable heroine: an academic who's not blind to the dangers of field research, and who has reason to trust her own abilities.

It's the rest that gave me fits. Teague's a pretty standard bayou romance hero, pretty much indistinguishable from others in this sub-genre. The meet cute is just a little too cute for me--stretched my credulity too far, so the book and I got off on the wrong foot right away.

And then there's the accent. I only know two people from Louisiana (that I know of, anyway--military people tend to be from every-which-where) (waves hi to Julia!), and they don't talk like this. It's possible that it wouldn't seem so fake if I were more familiar with the real-world version, but calling everybody "mon chér" and dropping French words into the dialogue every other sentence, combined with the slightly sleazy personality that seems de rigueur for bayou heroes--it's nails-on-the-chalkboard time.

Undoubtedly there are readers for whom Teague and others like him are a wonderful romantic fantasy. I'm not one of them. On the contrary: he makes my skin crawl.

My initial reaction when I finished Bayou Heat was that it was just okay--that there were too many coincidences and that I never really saw any development of a romance between Erin and Teague--they met when they were both naked (or mostly so), and their entire relationship seemed based on that small coincidence, lust-filled though it might have been.

On further reflection, I'm wondering how much of my disaffection with the book is due to the fact that the hero is just not my type. I'm not going to reread to try to figure it out, but if you've read this one, let me know what you thought.

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Meme is up. Ah ain't taggin no one. Is that Bayou dialect?
Only if you say "Ah ain't taggin no one, cher." ;)
LOL Darla, I think you got that "cher" perfectly ;)
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