Danger, Sweetheart dances with tropes
New York Times bestselling author MaryJanice Davidson, maybe best known for her Betsy the Vampire Queen series, steps away from the paranormal and into the contemporary world with a love letter to romance in “Danger, Sweetheart.”
This is one of those books that you must read the author’s note at the beginning. I’m one of those people that read the introduction, the acknowledgements, the random quote page, etc. But this time, everyone needs to. Because in it, Davidson outlines the concept of the book – a “Shaun of the Dead” kind of send-up to the romance genre. Where “Shaun” gave a wink and a nod to the horror genre and didn’t take itself seriously, so to is this book, but with the romance. A large number of tropes are used in this – there’s even a helpful guide to them in the back of the book – and it is all done with a wink and nod. Though Davidson didn’t use one of my particular favorite tropes – the marriage of conveniences – she also didn’t use my least favorite – the surprise pregnancy that brings the couple together. Well, not really. So. Onto the story!
Blake and Rake Tarbell -yes that’s their names and yes that is on purpose – are identical twins who are seemingly opposites. Born of a one night stand between their mother, a cocktail-waitress, and their father, a rich airhead, they come into money when the rich airhead dies and are now living their lives as wild, rich bachelors, hooking up with whomever they want. Blake is used to making money make problems disappear, so when his mother inherits property back in her small town, he is ready to pay off the bank loans and move on. But that’s not what his mom wants. She wants him to bring the ranch back up to profit. And it’s going to take a lot of work.
Meanwhile, Natalie is hanging out at the ranch for her own reasons. She doesn’t want to show a rich boy the lay of the land, but pretty soon they are working together and he is worming his way into her heart. With the help of a grumpy horse that hates everyone and a cute piglet, these two might find their way together, save the ranch, possibly the town and themselves in the process.
All told with Davidson’s trademark sassy sense of humor, the characters snark their way through madcap Rom-Com situations toward their happily ever after. It pokes fun of the genre while giving it a big hug, and it’s a fun and wild trip to take. Fans of the genre will really enjoy this, once they get the concept behind it.
And if I learned anything from this book, I learned this – Rake is terrible. And I really hope she writes a sequel!