My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I found it! I can’t believe I found it. I’ve thought about this book now and then, wondering what it was. I was pretty sure it was Garwood, but I couldn’t pin down the title till just now, with a pretty simple search on Google Books. (I do love Google Books.)
You see, a good while back I went to work and forgot to take a book with me. It was horrible. My break loomed, and I was anticipating a long, boring half hour staring at the vending machines, when a very kind, well-meaning lady from the other side of the room caught wind of my dilemma (honestly, I don’t think I was audibly whimpering) (not yet) and offered me a romance novel she had with her. This one. I thought “well, hey, it’s a medieval-y sort of a setting. It’s ‘an exquisite tender tale of love, adventure and passion’. How bad can it be?”
Oh, my silly, unsuspecting younger self. I found out how bad. If it had been my book it probably would have ended up embedded in that vending machine, but I couldn’t hurl a book that didn’t belong to me, even if that stellar first chapter did feature a woman allowing a “massive” hawk to land on her bare arm. I saw it coming, based on the buildup, but I thought “surely not”. I mean – well, look:
A bird is going to grip whatever it lands on. With its talons. It kind of has to, so as not to, you know, fall off. I don’t care if this idiot does have some kind of psychic link to her hawk (I think she did), it’s a bird. Transitioning from motion to stillness. It will grab on. With its razor-sharp talons. Let’s put it this way: after my break I faked a smile as I returned the book to its owner, and that night wrote a letter of protest to the author. I read about thirty pages, and it was a two-page letter.
That must be why this book has lingered in the outskirts of my memory after many mediocre (i.e., less horrendous) books have been completely forgotten. I was reminded of it by revisiting another romance novel review (note to self: really, don’t try any more historical romances unless they’ve been thoroughly vetted first), and on a whim tried that Google search: “hawk landed on her bare arm”, was what I typed. Lo and behold.
“…raised her right arm until it was stretched taut [stretched taut??] just slightly above her slender waist. … The hawk had landed on her bare arm, but she did not flinch from either his weight or his touch. [How about those talons, though?] His jagged claws [They’re talons, not claws, and “jagged” is not synonymous with “sharp”] [Merriam Webster: “having a sharp, uneven edge or surface”] were blade sharp, yet she wore no glove…”
Even without the sheer idiocy of this and whatever else I wrote about in that letter … Just looking at what’s available on Google Books … Good lord is the writing shocking. I begin to wonder if the book originated in another language and was incompetently translated; that would explain it. I’m surprised I made it the whole half hour. And that the letter was only two pages.