2 stars

Category Romance Review: Show Me by Janet Dailey

Show Me, Janet Dailey, Harlequin, 1977, cover artist TBD
Harlequin Presents #200
2 stars

Rating: 2 out of 5.

***Spoiler alert***

As the first American author of Harlequin Presents, Janet Dailey set her novels in all 50 states. I suppose this was to show foreign readers how diverse and exotic the USA can be. Although her books never inspired me to jet-set across the country, I, too, have travelled around the States and found myself in various oh-so-glamorous US cities like: Providence, Rhode Island; Charlotte, North Carolina; Tampa, Florida; Bridgeport, Connecticut; South Bend, Indiana; and Newark, New Jersey. Talk about exotic!

The Plot

Dailey’s HP #200 Show Me is set in the “Show Me” state of Missouri, with the hero, Jake, saying lines like this over and over again: “I’m from Missouri. You have to show me to believe.”

Jake is a bitter man who’s returned home after being away for more than half a decade. He’s sour because he was forced to marry Tanya, the mother of his son, John. The child was a result of a drunken one-night-stand Jake can’t recall. The “hero” is a deadbeat dad, as he’s lived in Africa for 7 years and made no effort to get to know his son. Plus, he’s contemptuously open about not having been a faithful husband.

There is a Harley dramatic revelation at the end, which the heroine had to do if she expected to engage in makeup sex with her husband.

So the big twist is… Tanya isn’t really John’s mom and Jake isn’t his dad. Their dead siblings were the real parents and their shotgun marriage was due to a big lie/misunderstanding.

Jake didn’t have to stay away from his family for so many years if Tanya had talked to him back when the kid was born.

Final Analysis of Show Me

But what kind of story would exist if the protagonists acted like adults and engaged in conversation? It would make for a dull romance. Almost as dull as this one.

This was a slow, ponderous read. I swear Janet Dailey could take a decent plot and make it as fun as reading furniture instruction manuals.

2 replies »

  1. Thanks, Introvert Reader. Wow, that big revelation is crazy! Talk about hard to swallow! I hate it when a storyline does something like this.

    This novel doesn’t sound like my kind of read. But allow me to note two matters.

    First, many years ago I was on a Janet Dailey kick. But the works I read were considerably better than this one.

    Second, in 1978, the year after “Show Me” was published, the author and her husband Bill moved from Council Bluffs, Iowa to Branson, Missouri. There they lived for the rest of their lives.

    Location obviously mattered to Dailey; she famously set a romance novel in each of the fifty states. I wonder if her research for “Show Me”, her Missouri novel, influenced her decision to move there.

    Just a thought!

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