Waiting for the Rainbow
by Dana George
(Leisure, $5.99, PG) ISBN 0-8439-5917-8
Dana George should receive credit for researching and incorporating facts about the Johnstown flood, one of our nation’s worst disasters. Fictional members of the South Fork Hunting and Fishing Club, the true owners of the dam that collapsed and killed 2200 people, are some of the villains in this book. Unfortunately, there are few other positives in Waiting for the Rainbow.

The main characters are five young people who live together under the guidance of eighteen-year-old Braedan Egan after the murder of their last adult influence, the grandparents of Charlotte Lange. Sisters Izzy and Rose had already been living with Charlotte and her grandparents, and after the murder, Braedan and his brother Chas move in.

The situations that follow read like a bad “brat pack” movie from the 1980s. Izzie marries a handsome, wealthy young man who quickly starts abusing her physically. Her husband needs an heir so his father won’t cut him out of his will. But when a pregnant Izzie runs away it takes the husband an irrationally long time to find her and the baby, considering that he only needed to have her friends followed one time. Charlotte is blackmailed into marriage with the villain’s dim-witted son, which puts a major crimp in her plans to marry Braedan. She comes to accept her marriage and the fact that her in-laws are complete psychos entirely too easily. Braedan (the hero) consoles himself with loose women and beer, until, inevitably, he gets a woman pregnant and is forced to marry her. Chas goes off to Penn to study medicine, and Rose becomes the companion to a feisty elderly woman. Everyone’s personal situation is tortuous until the flood, then as if by magic, all problems disappear.

The characters are teenagers and one young man is his early twenties, growing up during the 1880’s, but their dialogue is straight out of the 90’s. The 1990’s, that is. This historical romance is filled with little gems like “Hey, monkey boy, I was kidding,” and “She is so my daughter”. And the grammar is annoying. I lost count of the number of times I read lines like “Would you care to attend with Louie and I?” There are also instances where one name is substituted for another, even from one sentence to the next, so that the reader has to stop and figure out who said what. I looked twice to see if I had an uncorrected proof instead of the finished product.

Sadly, the entertainment factor in Waiting for the Rainbow is about the same chuckle you’d get from watching a bad kung fu movie.

--Wendy Livingston

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