Just a reminder: Mother’s Day is coming soon.

Some Stuff Moms Like: Supposedly moms like romance novels, maybe particularly historical romances.

Moms almost universally like take-out food once in a while. Or any situation that involves someone else cooking and cleaning up: take-out, restaurants, parties, house elves.

Title: Tender Wings of Desire

Author: Colonel Sanders

wings of desire

WhatWhat: Lady Madeline Parker doesn’t want to marry a Duke, or at least not Duke Reginald, the particular Duke her parents have chosen for her. So she runs away to work as a barmaid in a seaside town, because that’s so empowering or whatever. Luckily she meets a gorgeous glasses-wearing young man, and he turns out to be rich.

Money Quotes:

Lady Dahlia Parker had once been a famous beauty in her own right, and there had been a rather dramatic battle for her hand back when she was in season. (loc 107)

Lightly seasoned, I assume.

Having once been a beauty of the ton, she was increasingly unwilling to release that title no matter how old she was. (loc 196)

So between the arranged marriage to a Duke, and Madeleine’s mother having been a beauty of the ton, we are firmly in historical romance land.

“The name’s Harland. What’s yours?” His accent was one she had never heard before, sounding like a soft version of an American accent.

“Madeline.”

“That is a beautiful name, Madeline,” he said. “You must be new here.” (loc 574)

In historical romance land, arranged marriages and introducing yourself by your first name existed at the same point in history.

“Isn’t he a dish?” (loc 610)

Yes, made with eleven herbs and spices if I recall correctly.

…his hair was such a light blond that it almost looked white,… (loc 735)

I love it.

Once the thin and pale waifish look had become fashionable, her mother had striven for her girls to match it. Both ladies were lucky in that they were naturally thin…(loc 851)

I have to stop you there, book.

One expects to have to tolerate ahistorical mindsets in the characters going into something like this, but there are limits, and this is mine.

I put up with the first names, the disregard for class differences, the sex, and the heroine supposedly thinking that a man who had founded a business empire was of the same social class she was trying to escape. But suggesting “thin” was a standard of beauty in an era when it was associated with poverty and illness? Not on.

Verdict: This is an old-school historical romance, by which I mean I can’t make out when the damned thing is happening. The heroine is forced to marry someone her parents have chosen because he’s a Duke, and the ton gets mentioned, but every opinion she has is current-day. This is why I don’t read historical romances, actually. That, and too many heroines are as dumb as bricks. Including this one.

That said, this was enormous fun, and I applaud KFC for doing it. They’ve managed to cram so many cliches into this thing that honestly I think maybe they’re having us on. Also, can we talk about that cover?

Whoever designed that cover is my hero. Notice how it’s not Lady Madeleine and the youthful-sailor-version depicted: it’s the standard issue Colonel Sanders from the logo, and a mom in sensible clothes and carrying a sensible mom-purse. Somebody out there loves you and knows you’re clever enough to get the joke even when it’s a little bit at your expense, moms.

Vincent Kartheiser as Colonel Sanders Credit KFC 2
Vincent Kartheiser as Colonel Sanders;  Credit KFC