Mary Sues in ’92


For lack of better subject matter, I’ll write a critique of a genre romance novel, Jude Deveraux’s Eternity, published in 1992. I like romance novels occasionally, but only when I want some fluff to relax my mind. Of all the romance authors I’ve read, and there aren’t many, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss is my favorite so far. I’ll recommend Ashes in the Wind to anybody.

Set in the towns of Eternity, Colorado and Warbrooke, Maine in 1865, it’s the simple story of spoiled rich girl Carrie, who starts a mail-order bride business with a group of her girlfriends. Carrie sees a photograph of a man with two children and her heart goes out to him. She immediately decides that she will become his mail-order bride, even though the man (Joshua Greene) wanted a strong woman who could cook and farm and be useful. Carrie, being rich and pampered by her seven brothers, is essentially useless. Through the book, she has to continually prove to Josh that she’s not a featherbrain.

But she is a Mary Sue. She’s blond and petite with a smile that makes people bend over backwards to get her anything she needs. Her main talent throughout the book seemed to be her innate charm, although the author insisted that there was more to her than that.

Some of the dialogue seemed off and there were a few anachronisms within the text. I don’t think people used the expression “Duh” in 1865, but please correct me if I’m wrong. The writing style was simple and not overly flowery. One small thing that irritated me was that there were a few lines (mostly thought sequences) that would have been easier on the eye had they been in italics. A few of the lines were cheesy enough to make me roll my eyes, but I think that’s the nature of the romance genre.

The pacing was excellent, and as said before, the plot was tightly knit. There weren’t any loose ends at all and the male and female lead characters had awesome chemistry, although the love scenes between them were a bit disappointing.

In short, the book would make a great Lifetime movie. I’ll read another Jude Deveraux book soon and see if that one’s any better than this one in terms of character development. (My best friend’s mom gave me a mountain of used romance novels because she knows I like to read nearly anything in print.)

Please comment and let me know what you think of Jude Deveraux, the historical romance genre, or romances in general! Thank you for reading and have a great day!