Christine Jewett's Reviews > MacKenzie's Magic

MacKenzie's Magic by Debra Dier
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's review
Dec 27, 2015

it was ok
bookshelves: romance

Every now and then (as in, highly infrequently) I read a book that was, somehow, the Wrong Book.

This book was the Wrong Book.

I don't mean that it was the wrong book to read, although it may certainly have been. I found it in a box of free books, and it was uncharacteristic of me to read a romance novel with a half naked man on the cover. (It's usually a scenery, or more cartoonish drawings of the characters.) But that incongruity aside, the problem with this book was unique: it began one way, luring the reader in, and then did an abrupt 360, giving me a Reader whiplash that I haven't experienced since Italo Calvino's "If on a Winter's Night a Traveler."

I gather this book is one in a series of books by the author, tied together by the theme of True Loves uniting across Time and Space. At least by the second chapter I had. The first chapter had me fully convinced that I was about to read a charming and adventurous novel about the deal the Hero and Heroine had struck - if, after six months the marriage was not (willingly) consummated, there would be an annulment. I was imagining a kind of comedy of manners (the book is set in the Victorian era) where the Hero is trying to trick the Heroine into believing he is reformed enough to love, while unconsciously falling truly in love with her, and the Heroine is likewise pulling everything she can out of her bag of tricks to convince the Hero she is not the wife for him while resisting his ploys. I was very curious to see how their characters changed and developed under these conditions to seal their Happily Ever After.

What I got instead was a bumbling Scotsman, whose mind had been hurled through Time and Space to be with his True Love. Therein ensued 80% of the novel, where very little (if any) actual plot or action of any kind happened, aside from showing the Scotsman how to use the loo. (This late Victorian house was surprisingly modern, I suppose to be palatable to modern readers.) The the dialogue between the Hero and Heroine could be summed up as follows:

Hero: "I have been transported through Time and Space against my will by you, you sexy witch!"
Heroine: "I am not a witch, and you are simply ill from a bump on your head, so even though I despise you it is my duty as your unwilling wife to nurse you through this!"
Hero: "You a re not my wife, you are a witch!"

In other words, extremely circular and tedious.

There was finally a little bit of plot at the end, which didn't entirely make sense. Both the Hero and Heroine were too stupid to live, because I knew who had killed the Hero's former lover by the second chapter, whereas they spent almost the entire book not even thinking about the attempt on the Hero's life that gained him that bump on the head. They got that plot thread tied up, but left a ton of subplots just hanging out for everyone to see, such as dealing with the noxious supporting characters. The Heroine is clearly emotionally abused by her mother, who has given her this martyr complex, and her younger sister is a total spoiled bitch who is supposed to get everything and whom the Heroine is supposed to sacrifice everything for. (The sister is responsible for the Heroine being in this unwanted marriage.) Does the Hero even flaunt his love of the Heroine for her family to see, showing them how much they had undervalued her? No. Not once. Nothing even comes near it. Apparently, practically everyone being a douchebag in this world is just ok.

On the bright side, the Hero and Heroine do have unconditional love on their side, because we are never given any real reason for their love. It's instantaneous, and has nothing really to do with what they do or say to each other, or the bit of plot they do go through together.

I could go on, but you get the idea. This book needs help, and the first step, in my humble opinion, is to drop the whole lovers through Time and Space nonsense. If the author wrote that, I would definitely give her a second chance.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
December 27, 2015 – Shelved
January 22, 2016 – Shelved as: romance

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