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Wipe Away the Tears by Patricia Lake

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Wipe Away the Tears features 19-year-old Jassy (the name irritated the hell out of me, and it occurs 508 times in the book) falling in insta-lust with wealthy business magnate 36-year-old Max. Her controlling stepfather wants her to marry his business partner’s son René, but Jassy doesn’t want to. But she’s so damn weak she fears she’ll end up doing so anyway.

So she agrees instead to marry Max, a bloke she’s known for two days, and had a few gropes and snogs on the beach with. As you do.

Jassy is irritatingly beautiful. I don’t mind a beautiful heroine. I do mind a heroine who is endlessly described as beautiful and golden and flawless, endlessly whingeing to herself about her “too small breasts” and wishing she was “even more beautiful”. She’s also irritatingly stupid. “Do you enjoy being wealthy and powerful?” she asks Max.

Bear in mind this is a girl who has spent her entire silver-spoon life among rich and powerful people. It’s a bit like Chelsea Clinton asking Joe Biden if he “enjoys politics”.

The book was first published in 1982, and despite Max being madly in love with Jassy and kind and sensitive to the point of beta-ness, the sex is dominant and coercive in that typical 1970s-romance-novel way we all know (and pretend not to) love.

“Now,” he said very slowly, his voice flat, “you are my wife, and you will have to learn your role as my lover.”

“I wish to God I’d never married you!” she said hysterically, twisting futilely beneath him, hypnotised by the dark, angry glitter of his eyes.

“Well, that’s unfortunate,” Max drawled coldly and hurtfully. “Because I intend to have you – with or without your consent. I have the taste of your body in my mouth, the feel of you beneath my skin, and I’m hungry for more.”

Smashing stuff. If only this book had a proper plot. Max’s eyes constantly glitter, by the way. I counted eight occurrences. But he’s pipped to the post by Jassy’s gold/golden hair, which gets fifteen mentions.

We do find out that Max has actually fancied Jassy since she was seventeen and he saw her photo in a newspaper. He even bought the ring back then, though they hadn’t ever met. There’s shallow and there’s shallow, and then there’s so atomically-thin that it’s probably covered in A Brief History of Time. It’s a good thing she gets up the duff from their first shag, because she’s only got her looks to hook him, and they’ll inevitably fade.

Do I recommend this book? Well, why not. You can read it for free at OpenLibrary.org