The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes

By: Jennifer Crusie, Eileen Dreyer, and Anne Stuart

St. Martin’s Press

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Regularly, my mother brings books by the box to share with me. Generally, they are crime suspense titles and some romance. This particular novel was in the mix. I believe she told me she couldn’t get into it, but because it had witchcraft in it, I decided I would give it a shot.

From the beginning, the Fortune women, whose names I cannot even recall now (I finished the book a week ago), did not really interest me that much. I need to refer to the book for names. Just a second …

Dee is the oldest; she works at a bank and is very stiff collar. After their parents were murdered, she took charge of Lizzie and Mare, moving them from place to place to keep them safe from their wicked aunt, Xan. Unbeknownst to the trio, Aunt Xan is has concocted a spell that will turn them away from their troublesome powers, which they cannot control anyway. Their home is a series of misfortunate events, bunnies and sexy shoes galore. Xan’s great plan is to send the girls’ true loves to them in an effort to make them choose love over their magic. With the help of a bouncy waitress called Maxine, Xan watches the events unfold. The girls fall in love with the men, and sexiness ensues.

This book is not more than three women playing out their fantasies. It is my belief that the authors each chose a woman to write about and then added in their perfect man and let the sex and heat take them where they always wanted to go with that man. What would happen if a woman couldn’t control her powers during sex? Would someone get knocked out with flying bedroom items? No, what happens in this tale is the broken bed is magically transformed, because … don’t you know it, their sex is this perfect, harmonious union that magically fixes things.

I didn’t get through the novel very quickly. I commented to my husband half way through that I wanted to be done with it, but I had already invested that much time, I might as well see if the girls ever learn to control their powers. I was in for quite a surprise towards the end, and got more than an eyeful from the words on the pages. I was not expecting a porno, after all.

“She had the underwear of a thirteen-year-old, as well, he thought. He glanced back at her. But the shoes of a courtesan.”

The takeaway for this book is a lesson in trust. The girls animosity toward each other inhibited them from learning from each other and learning to harness their power as one. If they were any kind of witches, they would know that there is more power in numbers. Lizzie didn’t even know how to draw a circle, after all. You would think that in the years they ran away after the death of their parents, they would at least pick up a “How to Do Witchcraft for Dummies” handbook or something. They were completely clueless.

This book also calls into question the idea of true love. Xan does a spell that sends each girl’s true love to them. For Mare, the plan backfires, and two men are sent. I understand why the book was titled the “unfortunate,” but really … each woman was sent the man that was made for her through all eternity by a woman who had learned to hate what they were. Really? “I want your power. Here’s the man of your dreams who will love you for ever.” I thought Xan was better than that. As far as the villain goes, Xan was a  big disappointment. She could have been and should have been much more diabolical. But, maybe that is just years of fantasy and science fiction reading speaking.

This is hardly fantasy. It is a smutty romance novel with witches who don’t know anything about witchcraft.

Xan was still watching the dark cream bubble. It had been such an elegant spell, so beautifully subtle, so carefully aimed. Now it was going to be a fuckfest.

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