The Night the Stars Fell

Ride For the Roses

Ride the Winter Wind
by Christina Kingston
(Jove, $6.99, PG) ISBN 0-515-13279-9
Life is made up of moments and so are books. Ride the Winter Wind has some good moments, just not enough for me to recommend it. For me to recommend a book it has to have more good stuff than dry stuff - this baby needs more juice: more memorable moments. Having said that, I must also add that I will be on the look out for other books by this author because there's some good stuff here.

Major Michael Mathers, Viscount Kantwell, suffers imprisonment and torture. He loses the use of his left arm because of the beatings he endures. Michael survives but feels like only half a man because of his disability. At times, he even considers ending his life. Then one snowy night he happens upon a lady (also her grandmother and her cousin) in distress. Lady Alissa Alana Collington is desperately trying to get to London when her carriage gets caught in an icy ditch.

Alissa is desperate for more than a ride to London. She wants to marry for love, but her father's will is forcing her to marry or lose her inheritance. If she doesn't marry in one week all her money goes to her greedy, merciless, uncle. Although Alissa was engaged, twice, both her fiancÚs died; she believes her uncle murdered them to prevent her from marrying.

Michael rescues Alissa and her family more than once. He is struck by her beauty and spirit but doesn't feel she could love him because of his useless arm. Alissa believes Michael is the man she could love forever, but time is running out. She fears she won't be able to convince him of her feelings and meet her marriage deadline.

RTWW contains some wonderful humor and wit, but the pace is too slow and it just doesn't flow. There's not enough going on to fill so many pages. Most of the story line centers on the question: Will Michael and Alissa marry in time? Frankly, I think the story works better if they marry immediately. Then the main concentration of the tale is the romance; that is, making the marriage work.

More than once, I found myself turning pages quickly because the story was getting a little dry and I needed to get to something juicy. Then again, more than once, I found some wonderful humor and insights in this tale - the chapter where Alissa speaks with a prostitute about how to seduce a man had me laughing out loud.

Bottom line: this book needs more of the author's attention. This book is an "in-betweener," or tweener for short. The author has created a set of male friends and this is not the first or the last book which deals with the adventures of the men.

Some tweeners are great but this one has middle-child syndrome. To me, it felt as if the author was already planning her next story and overlooking the potential in this one.

Judith Flavell

--Judith Flavell

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