MOUNTAIN LAUREL by Jude Deveraux


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Deveraux sets her newest romance (A Knight in Shining Armor, 1989) among the last century's gold-rush towns, and comes up with another wisecracking yawner. Young Maddie Worth, a world-renowned opera singer, wouldn't be caught dead performing in Wild West towns were it not for the fact that some anonymous hooligans have kidnapped her younger sister, Laurel. Informed that the only way to recover Laurel is to tour six mining settlements, deliver a mysterious letter at each one, and accept delivery of her sister at the sixth, Maddie starts out in a little red touring wagon, willing to do whatever the kidnappers say. But the appearance of an insufferably self-satisfied captain sent by the army as her bodyguard spoils her plans. Worried that the kidnapper will kill her sister if she doesn't remain alone, Maddie tries slipping opium into Captain Montgomery's drink to escape him, but no such luck. Montgomery is not only tall, dark, and handsome, he's also a snoop. As Maddie moves from town to town, trading letters with grim, faced messengers and entrancing the miners (and the captain) with her rather exaggerated impersonations of Carmen, Montgomery gradually pieces together Maddie's predicament. Then, taking matters into his own masculine hands, the captain rescues Maddie's sister, trounces the kidnappers (who were smuggling stolen gold out of the West in the false bottom of Maddie's cart), and proposes marriage to the spunky vocalist he's come to adore. Some angst follows as Maddie is torn between marriage and career, but rest assured, her schedule gets ironed out eventually and the two end blissfully content. Premise, setting, and dialogue are equally unconvincing in this frivolous concoction. Deveraux offers champagne without the bubbles.

Pub Date: July 6th, 1990
ISBN: 1451607415
Publisher: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster