Dance of the Gods by Norma Beishir

January 13th, 2010

I’m something of a connoisseur of bad romance novels: the worse the better. I started out with the incest-liciousness of V.C. Andrews and eventually moved on to Barbara Taylor Bradford’s A Woman of Substance books (and movies!), all interspersed by the occasional isolated book.

During my recent bout of computer trouble, I did a lot of reading. Dance of the Gods by Norma Beishir (not to be confused with a book by the same name authored by Nora Roberts) has made my mental hall of fame as being one of the rare books that’s so bad, it’s bad. There was not enough silly to redeem it.

Pages 1 through 4 set up a mystery, pages 5 through about 450 give us the back story, and the last 40ish pages resolve the mystery. I solved the mystery in the first tenth of the book. I kept reading because of the possibility that I was way off base. I wasn’t. I suspended judgment until about page 350 when it suddenly dawned on me: I was reading a terrible book.

There was one passage that really got my attention. In a romance novel, it’s often a given that the happy couple wants dozens and dozens of children together. As stated on page 392 of this book, “The ultimate expression of a woman’s love is having her lover’s baby.” Women who are infertile, don’t want children or are lesbians obviously don’t love their partners. Our hero mentions a few times his desire for children (which is a discussion I wish they’d started before the wedding, but since everyone in romance novels wants children, why would they bother?). This is one such conversation (page 392):

His hand lingered on her stomach. “I for one would like a large family.”
“You just want to see me get fat,” she said, keeping her voice playful.
“Not fat, ripe.”

At first I was so disgusted that I missed his whole point: cannibalism! He wants a large family for the same reason he wants a well-stocked refrigerator. Of course, his wife is the one getting ripe, so maybe he’s going for some kind of human turducken. If only there were a way for their baby to get pregnant in utero.

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