Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bewitched; H. Cullman

This one is corny. Sorry. Can't help it. By turns, Bewitched is truly corny & horrifying. Emotionally this story rings true for a particular aspect of Emily & Michael's relationship, but the rest of it? Not working.

Emily has scared away three suitors because she was cursed. Yes, that's right. All marriageable men in Boston Massachusetts circa 1828 were superstitious idiots who turned down a well bred young lady because she was cursed. Emily is otherwise a capable, intelligent & compassionate young woman. Upon the death of her father she sails to England to be married off by her grandmother- perhaps curses can't follow you across the ocean, you see.

Meantime, Michael was the darling of the Ton until he suffered from seizures after coming into contact with a child suffering from measles. Decididng that he was insane/contagious/disgusting his family whisks him from sight, has him declared his grandmother's ward due to mental illness, strips him of his duties & responsibilities & consigns him to a 'state of the art' mental hospital for the hoity toity. That he survived is miraculous.

The two grandmothers have been best buddies forever. They cook up a scheme whereby they force Emily & Michael to marry. Emily & Michael agree under varying degrees of duress. Carefully over time the two reach out to each other & love & respect grow. Eventually they become a couple.

My issues with this novel are twofold- Michael's treatments are gruesome & horrifying & Emily's superstitions are ridiculous. It is immediately clear that the treatments are what's killing him. Culllman is accurate, historically. I found the passages describing Michaels's treaments very difficult to endure & they dropped me right out of the story. When you find yourself researching historical medical treatments & calling your Husband (a nurse) while he is at work to discuss the details of measles & said God Awful, stomach churning 'treatments' you as a romance reader realize that this is simply not working for you.

Superstitions. Where does one begin? I found her beliefs simply over the top & too much to cope with. Druidism & the fey & superstitions would have been enough by themselves- on top of Michael's illness & treatments? Didn't work for me. That's it in a nutshell. Emily otherwise was a great heroine. Loves Michael, does her best to ensure his health, etc. Michael manages to respect her beliefs despite the fact that he disagrees with her & he cooks up a way to help her overcome her convictions. Or at least this one.

It's too bad really. Emotionally Emily & Michael connect in a deep & long lasting way. They provide for each other emotionally, they respect each other & try to see the world from the other person's POV. The familial relationships were well done & believable. Unfortunately the depictions of Michael's treatments & Emily's beliefs really dropped me out of the story. I've another Cullman novel- Stronger Than Magic in my TBR, although I understand there is a forced sex scene, sooo...We'll see.


Jenster said...

The book sounds hesitantly intruiging. lol


Bookwormom said...

Jen- AAR (link on the sidebar) has two reviews of this book. One was a C & the other a B. Maybe reading their opinions will help you decide.