I’ve decided to do a series of four blog posts chronicling my misadventures reading a piece of cheesy historical romance. Since the book in question (Susan Wiggs’s The Maiden of Ireland) is about 400 pages long, each post will cover roughly 100 pages of the novel. You can view previous entries of here and here.
Jeez, just when you think it’s safe to be a priest in Ireland, Hawkins almost gets captured by priest takers, whom he then hurls over the side of the castle wall. But wait! He’s found out that the missing priests are being held on an island; why they’re holding priest-a-palooza there isn’t explained. Of course, he and Caitlin must go rescue one, which seems to be less an exercise in spirituality than an excuse to show up Cromwell and the Roundheads. (Considering that Cromwell holds Hawkins’s daughter [who is developing a whopping case of Stockholm Syndrome, btw], this seems pretty darn foolhardy).
However, they are captured by an English frigate and another chief Roundhead learns that Caitlin is the leader of the Irish rebel group, saying that he will bring Cromwell her head. Rather impulsively, Hawkins says that he will marry her in order to protect her and is rather astonished to hear that she is, to say the least, rather reluctant. Because learning that the man you almost had sex with was a secret enemy agent is a sure-fire inducement to matrimony, right?
But they go through with it anyways. Blah blah blah marriage ceremony on a ship, blah blah blah flowery sexy-times description. Although, I’m concerned that she is resistant almost the entire way through the consummation and only offers a token capitulation, which seems a little too close to rape for comfort. For a character that wears her independence like a weapon, this doesn’t really jive.
Their journey then takes them to London, because Hawkins still has to bring Cromwell the head of the Irish-rebel leader. A small matter that the head in question is attached to the body of his wife, I guess. Somehow, I really doubt Cromwell is the sort to laugh this trick off with a hearty guffaw.
On their way to certain doom, they run into Caitlin’s old love interest, Alonso, who apparently decided to keep writing love letters to her even though he got married and had a son. I was hoping a catfight would break out at this point.
They meet Cromwell, which runs about as well as they could expect, really, given that neither of them dies. Caitlin leaves before Hawkins meets his daughter (who by this time has turned into a proper little Puritan). I just can’t believe he hasn’t told her HE HAS A DAUGHTER. And really, since they are now married, so does she.
The reading ends on a rather odd note “He must prove himself to her. Mere words were not enough for she was a woman of action. And in the proving, he would win her love.” Yeah. ‘Cause repeatedly lying to a woman is a great way to win her affection.
And now for something that’s been bothering me since the beginning. The characters really shouldn’t be using the term Sassenach in this book. Yes, it is Gaelic and it does mean outlander and refers to Englishmen and Englishwomen, but it is Scottish Gaelic, not Irish Gaelic. Seriously, a modicum of research would have improved this book immensely.