Wednesday, January 19, 2011

TBR Challenge Review: An Independent Wife

An Independent Wife
Linda Howard
Contemporary Romance

*Spoilers - trust me, it's better than reading the book*

From the back cover ~

Seven-Year Itch

Their marriage had been passionate, painful - and brief. Their break had been final. Absolute. From that day on, Sallie Baines had truly changed. She could barely remember the timid girl who'd clung to love, but lost everything - even her pride.

Rhy Baines hadn't changed at all. After seven years, he remained the most attractive man Sallie had ever known. And now, fascinated by the independent woman his wife had become, Rhy still wouldn't take "no" for an answer...

My first book for the TBR Challenge and the best thing I can say is that I'm happy it's off my TBR pile. Do any of you remember the show Dallas and the character J. R. Ewing that Larry Hagman played? The hero, and I use that term very loosely, was channeling J. R. through much of this book. Total and complete Ass with a capital A. You know how sometimes in my reviews I'll say I wish someone would just shoot "insert character name" ? Well, shooting would have been too good for Rhy Baines. String him up, drawn and quarter, put him on the rack... well, you get the idea.

I probably should have just put this in the Goodwill bag and picked another book. It's not like I don't have plenty of categories to choose from but instead I kept on reading, thinking, hoping, praying, it would get better. It didn't. This is an early Howard, her second published I believe. And it's dated - 1982 but seriously, it was like something from the sixties the way the men treated Sallie, the heroine. Calling her doll, honey etc. And those were the men she worked with! Once I got through the first 100 pages or so, it was like a train wreck, I just could not look away. Most of the time I was reading I'm sure I was swearing under my breath.

The heroine starts out as Sarah Jerome, a quiet, timid young woman who's parents are killed in a car accident when she's eighteen. She lives next door to Rhy Baines' aunt and has known Rhy for many years. After her parents death, Sarah and Rhy begin dating, three whole dates before he asks her to marry him. Which in it self is weird but add in that he's 28, she's 18. He's a world traveling foreign correspondent. She's a small town girl. Emphasis on girl. It made no sense so it was no surprise that the marriage didn't last. She couldn't handle him being gone all the time, he couldn't handle her complaining about him being gone all the time. He's not there when she really needs him. She complains some more. He has enough and walks out. She stops feeling sorry for herself, goes to college and gets a job. Gets a break and becomes a, wait for it... world traveling reporter.

Years pass and Sarah is now calling herself Sallie and loving her job as a reporter for a weekly news magazine. She has changed from the shy, timid girl to an outgoing field reporter. She has also changed her looks from short and plump to petite and curvy. She's a very attractive and striking woman. Then she gets the news that her husband Rhy Baines will be making his way back into her life. And he's still her husband because neither one of them bothered to get a divorce after seven years apart. Rhy did try to find her but had no luck because she changed her name and is using her maiden name.

Rhydon Baines is a good looking, famous television reporter whose work takes him all over the world. Men want to be him and women just want him. He's decided to slow things down and cut back on his world traveling by buying a news magazine. He's now Sallie's big boss. When he realizes who one of the top reports for the magazine is, he's in complete shock! His little mousy wife has turned into a sexy little thing that he wants back in a big way and he'll do anything to get her.

Rhy starts with grounding Sallie, no more reporting from dangerous places. She's stuck in the office, having little to do. Then he threatens Chris, Sallie's male co-worker and friend. Rhy doesn't like Sallie's relationship with Chris and will fire Chris if it doesn't stop. This while Rhy is dating dingbat model Coral Williams. Rhy also tells Sallie she can't refuse him his "marital rights", after Sallie tells him she doesn't want to be his wife and won't sleep with him.

Rhy keeps pushing Sallie to be his wife again. And it turns out that Sallie isn't totally over Rhy, no she's still in love with the ass. She gives in, they have sex, yada, yada, yada. But she still doesn't want to be his wife. Seriously! What did she think would happen after she slept with him? That he would leave her alone? And the model that he's been dating? Sallie tells Rhy to go be with her but he says "I do what I want to do with whomever I choose - and right now I choose my wife." Awe, how romantic. Ass!

Rhy does agree to allow Sallie to go on an overseas assignment, with him. Rhy is his usual, domineering self and Sallie is still trying to be the independent woman. They argue, fight, split up and come back together. But Sallie still doesn't want to be Rhy's wife. Ugh!

Rhy takes the ultimate step in securing Sallie - he removes everything from her apartment and moves it to his. Of course he does this without her consent so she comes home, sees her things gone and thinks she's been robbed. When she finds out it was Rhy she is livid! Thank god! But this doesn't last long, she caves and moves in with him! At this point I thought they deserved each other. Fine, go back to him because you are such an independent wife. Ha! But wait, they have to have one more misunderstanding and Sallie must flee the bastard.

They get back together, again, because this is a romance after all. *eye roll* And I will say the last few pages Rhy actually seems like he might be redeemable but it's a case of too little too late. He's still an ass.

Rating: D


  1. Um, thanks for saving me from ever making that mistake. "Marital rights"?


  2. LOL, all that in a category romance?!?

    I don't think I read this one, but I'm not surprised either you found Rhy to be an ass. LH tends to have jerks for heroes :P

    I really like your review though. Makes me chuckle :) It's too bad the story is so dated, because the premise sounds okay :)

  3. Ouch. ::crosses this one off the list::

    This brings back memories, though. How many times did we read that the heroine had been on her own because her parents/siblings/extended cousins died from some horrible accident/disease/random incident. It's almost as if they couldn't visualize a woman picking up and, oh, moving to another city where she didn't have relatives for career or other reasons. (And since I'd done just that, all the orphans caused me to roll my eyes somehwat.)

    There are some great old books out there, but some really do not age well.

  4. Julia ~ You're welcome! Yeah, the marital rights - like she had no right to say No. *shakes head*

    Nath ~ LH has some major alpha heroes but this guy went so far beyond that. The premise had potential, that why I picked it but the execution was horrible.

    Caro ~ This one definitely showed it's age. Too bad because I usually like Howard's work.

  5. OK, he sounds terrible - but she sounds just as bad! I have little patience for heroines who put themselves on the shelf while the asshat hero runs off to "find himself." She obviously had enough gumption to make herself over and get a job she likes - but not divorce the asshat? Ugh.

    And he wants his "marital rights" while HE'S DATING SOMEONE ELSE?!?!? And the heroine goes to bed with him when HE'S DATING SOMEONE ELSE?!?!?! Double ugh.

    I can understand why you finished it though. I read an awful Silhouette Desire last year for the Challenge and kept reading the darn thing even though it was awful. Why? It was a SD and only 180 pages. So I kept reading against my better judgment.

    Here's hoping you dig out a better read for February.....

  6. Wendy ~ The no divorce on her part was silly. She needed some work as a heroine - not as strong as she thought she was.

    But he wasn't having sex with the model. So that made it ok. *snort*

    I don't think next month can get any worse. LOL

  7. Oh wow! This sounds a bit like that 'old skool' Elizabeth Lowell category I read last year. I guess even Linda Howard has some of those, lol!

    You know I'm still collection her backlist, I'll stay away from this one. Great review!