The Blue Devil

Miss Grantham's One True Sin

 
Lord Logic and the Wedding Wish
by Melynda Beth Skinner
(Zebra Regency, $4.99, G) ISBN 0-8217-7419-0
***
Lord Logic and the Wedding Wishis one of those books where the heroine makes or breaks the reader’s enjoyment. What is quirky to one reader will be exasperating to another, and I’m afraid that Miss Artemis Rose fell into the latter category more often than not.

Artemis was childhood friends with Orion Chase, Earl of Lindenshire. Her own mother was half-Gypsy, and though she was legally married to Artemis’ father and was herself the daughter of an earl, found herself thrown to the wolves with her husband’s passing. For the last sixteen years, Artemis and her mother have lived with the Gypsy caravan. Now her mother is dead, Artemis is in charge of a baby half-sister, and she is on her way to London to find a position.

Artemis believes in signs and portents, and looks for them everywhere. When a “sign” points her to the home of Orion, she remembers how her mother and Orion’s mother were dear friends. Perhaps Lady Lindenshire will help her. Orion, now a much-sought-after member of society, and Artemis, Gypsy woman, renew their acquaintance. He’s just as logical and proper as she remembered, and still interested in the study of insects. This scientific, orderly man would never believe in a portent. Orion finds his childhood playmate has grown into a beautiful woman, but her insistence on looking for signs everywhere drives him to distraction.

A series of events lands Artemis in London, where she is mistaken for Orion’s mistress and unwittingly attends a Cyprian’s ball with another man. Deciding to escape to America with little Anna, Artemis is interrupted by the arrival of Orion, who has heard the rumors about his supposed ladybird. Once he calms down, he proposed they fake an engagement for a month or so to allow the scandal to subside. Artemis is initially reluctant, then within about ten minutes looks out the window, hears two owls and sees a star, and decides that these signs point to a real marriage. Orion must truly love her. He just doesn’t know it yet. They should marry for real - the signs have spoken.

The whole “signs and portents” thing didn’t work for me. I found myself entirely in sympathy with Orion, who wishes Artemis would just forget about them and approach life with a bit more logic and reason. Here, “logic and reason” are synonymous with “emotionally repressed”, and the signs and portents bit indicates that Artemis is, of course, more free-spirited and open to love. Okay, but the “signs” often felt like plot contrivance. Artemis sees a flash of lightning and decides she can’t possibly tell Orion about little Anna. She bases her decision to marry Orion not on emotion, but on something she sees outside the window. Artemis is soon reading tea leaves and palms for the ladies of the ton and Orion is wondering how to break it off.

With two such utterly opposite characters, any real romance would have to be built on a genuine meeting of the minds. I didn’t find that here. Orion does a turnaround and eventually sees that Artemis will accept him the way he really wants to be, without the town polish, and he’s just going to have to put up with her Gypsy ways. Artemis makes no such concessions; she’s essentially the same character at the end of the story as she is at the beginning. It felt very one-sided.

However, Artemis Rose is going to strike readers in very different ways. She was not my cup of tea, but if you like quirky Regency heroines, I urge you to pick up a copy of Lord Logic and the Wedding Wish. You may be in for a nice surprise.

--Cathy Sova


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