My Darline Caroline

Winter Garden

Stolen Charms

 
Someone Irresistible by Adele Ashworth
(Avon, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-380-81806-X
**
The place is the Crystal Palace, Hyde Park, London. The date is 1851. This will be the moment that the professional reputation of Nathan Price will be established for life. He has discovered the jawbone of a Megalosaurus. This exhibition will demonstrate his prominence within the scientific community and is sure to earn him a monetary award, which will enable to continue his work. Also at the exhibition is Mimi Marsh, the daughter of famed dinosaur sculptor Sir Harold Marsh. Mimi has long been attracted to Nathan. She is being courted by Carter Sinclair, an anatomist and Nathanís main competitor for the funding, but Mimi is clearly trying to encourage Nathanís interest. They share a passionate kiss. At the pinnacle of his professional success, however, Nathanís ambitions are dashed: his jawbone has mysteriously disappeared and only an empty glass case remains.

Two years later, Mimi Sinclair is a widow. She sculpts dinosaur fossils under her fatherís name; he suffers from poor eyesight and crippling arthritis, and as a female she cannot be known to have such an occupation. Nathan comes to her. He still does not know who stole his dinosaur jawbone, but he suspects Mimiís father. He knows that Mimi is working as a sculptor and convinces her to sculpt a replica of his dinosaur jawbone.

Mimi agrees. In her attic she has the jawbone that was at the center of Nathanís professional disgrace. The work requires Nathan and Mimi to work closely. Mimi has not lost her attraction to Nathan and uses this opportunity to be in his company to try to seduce him. Nathan is not immune to her charms, but he must not lose this chance to reestablish himself.

In its prologue, Someone Irresistible seems to have everything going for it: a hero and heroine who are overwhelmingly attracted to each other, a novel setting, a hint of mystery. After the promising beginning, however, the pace of the narrative slows to a crawl and deteriorates into a series of repetitious vignettes. As they work together, Mimi notices Nathan observing her breasts. She then starts behaving in classic sex-starved-widow fashion. First Mimi gives Nathan a glimpse of her red satin corset. Next a black lacy one. Then more black lace. I found this parade of Mimiís lingerie a lot less exciting than Nathan did who has one standard response: he walks away. Repeatedly. Eventually, of course, Mimi has her way with him, but it seems to take forever to get to that point. And Nathan walks away. Again.

I did appreciate the story having a hero who is a self-made man having come from a mine-worker background rather than the ubiquitous noble lord. Moreover, the manner by which Nathan acquired an education unusual given his class origins - he had a aristocratic patron - is credible.

As to the mystery of who stole Nathanís jawbone, I figured it out within a few pages and think most readers will, too. Nathan may be a brilliant paleontologist, but heís not much of a detective because he remains in the dark till the end.

Ms. Ashworth has penned some well-written romances that have received wide-spread praise; Someone Irresistible does not achieve the same quality of her earlier books. Unfortunately it never came together for me, and I found myself putting it down time after time. Frankly, I was bored. This one is very resistible.

--Lesley Dunlap


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