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Monday, October 06, 2008

Awaken, My Love

** Awaken, My Love by Robin Schone. Time travel romance.

Did I say something about wishing there were more time travel romances? This is not what I had in mind. Awaken, My Love had been in my TBR pile a long time. It could have stayed there.

Elaine Metcliffe wakes up one morning in a different body, in a different time. She's in the body of reluctant wife Morrigan, and she's afraid to speak for fear her identity will be discovered--or at any rate, that it will be discovered that she's not Morrigan. So she feigns laryngitis while she's bullied by Morrigan's creepy warped-religious maid Hattie and by her husband Charles.

Elaine had been sexually frustrated in her marriage, and Morrigan had been refusing Charles's bed, so it seems like a good match. And they do end up in bed and falling in love. But then Morrigan comes back, and threatens to expose Elaine.

It could have been a decent book. The synopsis doesn't sound bad, does it? I liked the premise.

But I felt like throwing the book against the wall several times.

Elaine is supposed to be a 39-year-old married woman from the 90s, but she's shocked by French kissing and oral sex, and she's so timid as to be unbelievable, particularly for a modern woman.

The evil Hattie was a good adversary initially, but then she got tiresome, and then inexplicable. Charles is portrayed as a control freak, yet he allows Hattie to stay, even after he and the reformed "Morrigan" are becoming more intimate and it's apparent that his wife is afraid of the woman.

Then too, Elaine accepts her time travel/body swap awfully easily. "Things look strange? Oh, I must have traveled in time and jumped into someone else's body." Not much questioning or even confusion.

And she immediately assumes that her voice would give her away, and that if it did, she'd be sent to a lunatic asylum. Why she assumes this, I don't know. I'd think that the voice would match the body. Even if it didn't, how hard is it to mimic a hoarse voice?

Then there's the romance, such as it is. Actually, all those late-80s early-90s category romances I read make it understandable. Romance = sex. So what if Charles is an abusive ass? Elaine's in need of some hot sex, and he provides it, therefore, it's True Loveā„¢. Never mind that Charles's vaunted "tantric training" is more talk than action--Elaine's extreme naivete means it's hot to her.

Morrigan (the real Morrigan) coming back in the end made no sense at all, and opened up a whole new story, begging for explanations that never materialized.

Worst of all, there was never any explanation for why Morrigan and Hattie were so bizarre. Charles's boorishness isn't all that odd, and Elaine's naivete I put down to bad writing, but what the heck was the reason for these strange, vicious women?

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