Saturday, August 11, 2007

"The Reinvented Miss Bluebeard" by Minda Webber

"When your father is not only an infamous pirate but the husband of six vanished wives, respectability's hard to come by. That's why Eve invented herself a husband. How else was a nineteenth-century gal to follow her dreams and become one of those newfangled psychiatrists? Certainly she'd never be running The Towers, London's preeminent asylum for potty paranormals. She wouldn't be seeing famous outpatients such as Frederick Frankenstein (he has a screw loose) and treating Jane Van Helsing's blood phobia. But now, wackier than the werewolves and loonier than the leprechaun she's already treating, something new is taking shape - and he has the name of her never-before-seen husband and a body to drive a girl absolutely batty..."

This is the other "beach read" that I took on my little vacation. I'd seen other titles by Ms. Webber before but never picked one up. Again, looking for light reading, I decided to give this a shot.

Overall, I liked it better than the Hannah Howell entry below. It's still a romance, but has that paranormal flavor to it that I prefer. It also has a sense of humor, something that I quite enjoy. I will say that while some of the author's puns and plays on words were cute, there were WAY too many of them. This is the sort of thing where a little goes a long way. Jasper Fforde is a much better example of this style of writing (check out the Thursday Next series).

The characters were engaging, and I do mean "characters". I like the leads but also found myself warming to the supporting cast, particularly Eve's butler Teeter. He's a good soul despite being an ogre and having a penchant for alcohol. Of course, if you worked in an asylum, you'd probably be tempted to drink, too! There's Hugo, who runs off quite often to ring the bells in the Tower, which makes Eve's assistant's dog jump to the table to be fed. Her assistant is none other than Pavlov, which makes the mutt in question Pavlov's dog. Get it?

Adam, the invented hubby who appears in the flesh, thankfully has more than one dimension. Although he's been a pirate and longs for gold, there's a good reason for the need of money (restoring the family estate) and he's got a sad past. He's also quite good with Eve's patients, and might be doing them more good than the good doctor herself. The interaction between Adam and Eve (again, get it?) is cute, and their romance builds at a leisurely pace with the final "I love you"s toward the end of the book. Also, lots of thwarted romantic encounters, which was just fine with me, especially after all the action of the Howell work.

If you like funny, light reading, and don't mind the frequent play on words, this might be just the book for you.

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