Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

We Have A Winnah!

I don't snark about everything, I promise. And when I find a book I enjoyed as much as this one, I have to let you know.

Heart of Dixie, by Tami Hoag. I found this old category book in my favorite part of the library. I love going through the large print section. I find little romance jewels of yesteryear in that glorious little nook, which is why I frequent it. It's not like I need the large print. Of course not.

First, it was published years ago, so here's your spoiler. I'm going to talk about the Big Secret in this book, not that you won't figure it out. It's a good candidate for Saw That One Coming, Much? and I don't feel as if I'm ruining a whodunit or anything. But if you don't want to know, don't read any further. Just read the book.

Tami Hoag writes romantic thrillers now, and does it well, but this is just a sweet category romance with a dynamite message. Jake Gannon is a writer, a serious writer. He does authorized biographies- not the tabloid stuff! I said not, dangit! He's a little sensitive on that point. Of course, like all good writers of serious non-fiction, he really wants to write fiction. But his latest assignment is to track down a beautiful movie star who left Hollywood and disappeared a year before.

Jake's fascinated, as all men are, by star Devon Stafford. She's reed thin but with the necessary...accoutrement, long mane of wavy hair, and pouty bee-stung lips. Think Angelina Jolie. En route to her little hometown in the middle of Southern Nowhere, Mr. Perfect California Jake's Porsche breaks down. The tow truck comes, manned by a short-haired, thin-lipped, well-fed woman, Dixie La Fontaine.

Let's cut to the chase here. Jake thinks, because Dixie has the same last name as the movie star's real one, and because Dixie has a lady cousin living secretly in her attic, that she's Devon Stafford's cousin. And Devon's in her attic. Which is why he gets close to her, but he soon falls for our requisitely feisty, warm-hearted heroine, in spite of her defiant imperfection.

Make no mistake. Ms. Hoag's skills with a mystery have improved greatly over the years, and you've probably already guessed the Big Secret. Devon Stafford had her name chosen by her agent, who got them by reading randomly from a British map. The transformation is described this way:
" wasn't even her real face. It was a skeleton of her real face, painted and polished, lips pumped full of saline and protein, eyes turned luminous green by the magic of optic science. Precious little Dee Ann Montrose, the girl who grown up with the nickname Dixie back in the hills of North Carolina. The accent had been schooled out of her speech, her body had been honed down to the bone. The long platinum locks that men the world over dreamed about were mostly extensions, woven in and colored icy blond by a man named Eco."
Dixie, already tired and unhealthy, who got a rice cake as a special treat if she'd had a good six-hour workout, decided to leave Hollywood when another actress friend killed herself because she could never attain Devon Stafford's perfection. I wanted to shout. "Not even movie stars look like movie stars! Gimme some chocolate!"

I've gotten tired of perfect, slender heroines. Notice, will you, how they're skinny enough to look like boys in men's clothing but later that night in a ball gown- WHOOEEE! Dolly Parton! These perfect women are all "reed slender" or "willowy," but when the hero picks her up to carry her home or puts her in front of him on his horse to carry her home or insert plot device here so he can get his hands on her legitimately, he suddenly notices that she's got womanly curves. All right, which is it? Reeds are sticks. They don't have curves. Sigh.

Thank you, Ms. Hoag. When my daughter is old enough, I'm going to show her this book. And give her some Godiva to go with it.


Blogger Missie said...

This book sounds like one I would really enjoy. Can't wait to read it.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Sounds like a fantastic book. We need more realistic romances out there.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Heather Diane Tipton said...

yeah I don't like those reed stick chicks. LOL

10:01 PM  
Blogger Robyn said...

Reed Stick Chick. Congrats, Heather, you've just added to the Snarkling Clean Euphemisms.

6:28 AM  
Anonymous Heather Diane Tipton said...


9:04 AM  
Anonymous Jolene said...

Ack I've got a child trying to stick a checker in my ear. ::rolls eyes: anyhow..I love this. rotfl. Yes, all heroines in stories seem to be perfect size 0's. haha.'s unfair..guys like the chicks with no curves, while I've got enough to share with those chicks. rotfl.


7:16 AM  
Blogger Missie said...

Don't feel bad, Jo. Between Robyn and me, we have enough curves to donate to some underdeveloped countries. Get it, underdeveloped?? :) I know, I kill me too.

Don't worry. One day you will find a man who wants a woman who is shaped like a woman, not like an undernourished anemic supermodel.

7:11 PM  

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