Harlequin Presents #112
3 1/2 stars
The Spoiled Anti-Heroine
In Anne Mather’s The Waterfalls of the Moon (I love the old Harlequin Presents titles), the teenaged heroine is in pursuit of a much older man, but the hero’s not taking the San-Quentin tail so easily.
I can’t say many of Anne Mather’s works number among my all-time favorites, but, for the most part, I had a good time reading them. She could make unlikeable heroines that were somehow fascinating, and Ruth is one of them. She’s a spoiled teen, rich beyond reason, bored, and chases after Patrick with a cold calculation.
All you have to do is change record players to iPhones (although record players have made a huge comeback) and there’s no difference between this shallow youth’s mega-rich lifestyle and that of the pampered princesses of Bravo & MTV reality TV. She parties, she lunches, she shops, she dates…casually. As this is a 1970’s era Harlequin, Ruth is not sexually experienced.
She is, however, quite cunning, and when circumstances lead to Patrick getting black-out drunk they’re together, she takes advantage of the situation to suit her desires.
Patrick is in England temporarily, and the last thing he needs is a woman, let alone a privileged girl nearly two decades younger, whose Daddy will buy her whatever she wants, including him.
Regardless, Patrick’s body wants what his head does not, and so a battle rages within him: “I want you, I don’t want you, I want you, I don’t want you… I’m stalking you & now I have to get pass-out drunk because I am so jealous thinking about you with other men!”
And Ruth thinks: “I love him! He passed out in my bed & thinks we did it! Of course, we didn’t, but I won’t tell him the truth until it’s too late.”
So Ruth manipulates Patrick into thinking that they spent a drunken night together. Worse, to come, she makes him believe she’s pregnant.
Patrick, being the old-fashioned type, agrees to marry Ruth. However, he’s got work in Venezuela, so that’s where Ruth is to live for the next several months. One thing about Ruth is that she’s no wishy-washy person; she knows her mind, as devious as it is. It’s in for a penny, in for a pound with her.
So Ruth goes to Venezuela, into the depths of the jungles, to be with her man. Then he finds out the shocking truth, and our love story unfolds from there.
Final Analysis of Waterfalls of the Moon
I enjoy a good heroine-in-pursuit romance, and The Waterfalls of the Moon was mostly that. I wish there were more happy interactions between Ruth and Patrick, but the plot setup took a bit of time in this short category romance. Still, if you’re looking for a vintage romance where the heroine isn’t the usual epitome of moral perfection, this one has a tangy bite to it.