WARNING: This post contains spoilers for the (old enough that it should likely not be an issue for many of you) China Bayles series of cozy mysteries.
So I’ve been reading this series and really enjoying it. These mysteries are cozy so nothing gets too gory, and they’re set in small, quaint town and feature a feminist woman who left behind the big city corporate lifestyle to grow and sell herbs, so they’re pretty much right up my alley.
I’m up to the sixth book in the series and pretty early in this story, I realized that it was going to center around a thing that I hate, which is a romantic misunderstanding in which neither of the parties will actually just say what they’re thinking/feeling and be honest with each other. This storyline is so tired and just not at all the way that life ever works in reality. Poor storytelling! I have so little patience for it. So that was disappointing but I thought, well, it’s one book in a very long series, the characters will figure it out by the end of the book and we’ll all move on to further cozy murder investigations with cute herbal puns.
NOPE. Serves me right for thinking I know what’s what, but it turns out to NOT be a misunderstanding, but some truly callous treatment of our heroine by her supposed true love. And she’s taking it! And not making a big deal out of it! When it’s a HUGE DEAL! CAN YOU TELL HOW ANGRY THIS MAKES ME?!
So, in addition to the not-saying-what-he’s-thinking (of which our heroine is also guilty, but that’s where the similarities stop), it turns out he’s outright lying to her. He’s taken on a job and instead of telling her, he lied and said that he was doing a research project (he’s in academe) while on sabbatical. And this job is super dangerous and involves him dealing with known murderers and drug cartels and YOU DON’T JUST TAKE A LIFE-THREATENING JOB AND THEN LIE TO YOUR SUPPOSED LIFE PARTNER ABOUT IT. And THEN, when she takes a vacation without him (really a spiritual retreat because she’s stressed out, partially because he’s not telling her the truth and she kind of knows it), he cheats on her! MULTIPLE TIMES. With some woman he’s ostensibly working with, who later claims that it’s all her fault because she seduced him. UM NO. He made choices and he is responsible for them! She’s only been gone for a week!
Even when she confronts him about it (having overheard him talking to the woman on the phone, ON VALENTINE’S DAY, no less), he still lies! He doesn’t own up to anything! And he keeps lying! And expecting her to take care of his kid while he goes off to do his stupid lie job and continue to spend time with his mistress. WHAT!! And everyone keeps talking about how he’s such a GOOD MAN and apparently this makes it forgivable for him to treat her like crap. AND they keep telling her how selfish she’s been that she hasn’t agreed to marry him before now. WHAT??!!!!
Things get worse from there, and I am so upset about it. I haven’t finished the last chapter or so of the book yet, but I will be doing so (angrily!) tonight. Even more than the characters being so shitty to one another, it makes me mad because it’s going to ruin the rest of this series for me. I will not be able to forgive him and I just know that everyone in the book is going to totally forget about this and he’s going to be the golden boy perfect man from here on out. Like, oh, remember that time when you TOTALLY LIED TO ME FOR MONTHS AND THEN CHEATED ON ME AND THEN YOU GOT A GUNSHOT WOUND AT YOUR STUPID LIE JOB AND THEN I HAD TO VISIT YOU IN THE HOSPITAL WITH YOUR MISTRESS SITTING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF YOUR HOSPITAL BED? NO? No one will remember this, because they are all not bothered by it at all. UGH! And I don’t WANT to give up on this series because it has a lot of other great things that I do really enjoy. BAH!