The Last Cavalier

Aaaaand…we’re back! Happy 2012! Did you have a good new year? Did you have a good Valentine’s Day? Are you being properly romanced? I had so much romance in my life it made me want to puke, so I figured that was a sign I should get back here and do some recaps. Blah blah blah, let’s talk about this gem! How about that cover? Doesn’t she look mildly interested in what’s happening? Also, for some reason I look at that image and I see Teddy Roosevelt in the hero’s face. This is the first time I’m seeing that cover because I listened to this as an audiobook and I am SO GLAD that I did! Reading with your eyes is for losers!

This dense tome stars JASON as a confederate soldier fighting in the Civil War who gets transported forward in time to the 90’s to the site of that famous battle DURING the battle reenactment. Only he doesn’t realize it’s a reenactment, he just thinks everyone is still fighting. Also his brother is mortally wounded and he’s obsessed with getting back to him, but come on. Dude? Your brother is dead. He is totally dead. I’m sorry! But he is. You abandoned him in the middle of a battlefield and he died. So then he meets – haha, actually, he KIDNAPS, the heroine VICKIE because he sees her leaving the “Yankee camp” and he wants her to, like, help him get back to his camp or whatever. I don’t know. He seems to think he that he has to have her with him, tied up, so that’s that. They spend a scary night together, she fearing rape and murder, he fearing spies and ambush, and then in the morning they go off looking for his camp, and she’s like THE WAR IS OVER! And he’s like, YEAH YOU WOULD SAY THAT WOULDN’T YOU – YANKEE WHORE!!!!! The best part about this book is the accents, which I would miss if I was reading it myself, but they are loud and proud on the audiobook. In my head it’s Bill Compton and Sookie having this adventure, because that’s who they sound like. Jason is all, VICK-EHHHHHHH, and Vickie is all, JAYH-son!, in that squealy faux-southern accent Anna Pacquin does. It’s terrible and wonderful and I can’t get enough. “The war-ah is ov-ah!” “Yankee whore-ah!” But then they get transported back in time together to the battle again and they get SHOT AT and Vick-EHHHHH is like, “oh dear, something is going on, this is not normal,” but then they escape and come back to the 90’s. So now they’re both like, WTF just happened? And JAYH-son is like, ok, so maybe I did get transported to the future? And he’s super sad about losing the war and all that. And, like, I understand that the book is set in the south so all the characters are Southern, but it’s like…it’s hard to feel bad for him? I feel like I should be all, hell yeah we kicked your ASS! Rah rah rah AMERICA! No more slaves for you, SUCKA! Which of course I know is an oversimplified way of looking at history, but come on. You never see books about Really Nice Nazis getting the girl. Anyway. This is an entirely different issue than the issue (issues) of this book.

So then they have to take shelter in a cave and by take shelter of course I mean take their clothes off. Vick-EHHH is a widow (her husband, also a soldier, but a 90’s soldier, was killed in Iraq, 90’s Iraq) and she hasn’t felt like THAT about any man in a long time, so when she starts to feel like THAT about JAYH-son, she has to tap that ass. As one does. Then his horse shows up from the Civil War and now it’s, like, a love triangle almost? But they all make it back to civilization and JAYH-son acts like a big weirdo and just about starts to cry when they tell him that Stonewall Jackson died, but Vick-EHHHHH buys him a hot dog and a Coke and takes him to meet her Grandpa. Who is a nice old guy, don’t get me wrong! But he’s also like, “so what’s up with you? You a time traveler from the real Civil War or what?” and JAYH-son is like, “yeah, basically,” and Vick-EHHHHHHHHH is like, “oh, Gramps, I knew you would understand!!!!!” Whatever, you guys. Just whatever. Then JAYH-son goes to take a shower and there’s a boner involved but they decided it would be disrespectful to have sex in her grandfather’s house. But JAYH-son, sweet horny JAYH-son, later invites her to come have sex with him in the barn. Also he’s wearing her dead husband’s clothes! Haha! This is so fucked up and uncomfortable! Oops, I mean sexy. Haha. Yeah, sexy. Right, guys.

Sooo they go out to the barn and have a roll in the hay and PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SOMEONE GET HEATHER GRAHAM POZZESSERE A THESAURUS. I’ve never seen/heard “rimming” used so many times in a romance novel love scene. And it’s not even rimming! Not really! She RIMS his lips with her tongue. He RIMS her underpants with his finger. One of them RIMS the other’s back? I don’t know. I don’t even know. Use a different word! USE A DIFFERENT WORD OR BRING A BUTTHOLE INTO IT AND USE IT RIGHT! I am just saying. After that little adventure, Vick-EHHHHH and JAYH-son snuggle a little and JAYH-son is all, oh man it sucks that I like to put my penis in you so much because I have to travel back in time and save my brother’s life!, and Vick-EHHHH is like, nooooo don’t gooooo he’s probably dead already!, and JAYH-son is like, well maybe but I have to go anyway even though I don’t want to, and Vick-EHHHH makes a pouty duck face. (I assume.) Then they decide to go track down Gramps at the library and figure out whether he’s learned anything about anything, I don’t know. Like all matters of import, this must be discussed over steaks so when they find Gramps they head to the local steak joint to hear what he has to say. And boy howdy, has he found some stuff OUT! JAYH-son’s brother survives! He becomes a doctor! He revolutionizes science and medicine! OF COURSE HE DOES. But then, suddenly, a crazed gunman enters the restaurant! He has a gun and he is crazed! He slaps the sweet pretty cashier around a little. This will not stand!!!! Vick-EHHHH and JAYH-son both react, but of course JAYH-son is more macho so he subdues the gunman and beats him into unconsciousness. And also gets shot in the head! Or does he? Oh, wait, he’s bleeding and passing out…yep! Head wound! So they take JAYH-son to the hospital and much ado is made over his lack of health insurance (though I’d have thought lack of ID would be a bigger issue?) so they use Vick-EHHHH’s dead husband’s insurance card (she still carries it around and no one told the insurance company that he died, duhhhhhh) and start calling him by her dead husband’s name. This is so awkward and bad! But it gets worse. See, the doctor who’s treating him is an old friend of Vick-EHHHH’s so he totally knows that this head-shot dude is NOT her dead husband. And also? He’s a BLACK MAN and JAYH-son keeps calling him “darky” and “boy!” AHHHHHHHHH THIS MAKES ME WANT TO RIP MY FACE OFF. I was listening to this, driving alone in my car, and I couldn’t stop looking around, as though someone else was there or some other driver was somehow able to hear it, so we could look at each other and make faces like, WHAT?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS?! The doctor knows that something is up and he seems on the verge of saying, “so is he like a Civil War soldier who time-traveled here or what?” but then he doesn’t. He just lets Vick-EHHHHH go see him. And instead of immediately being like, ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS RACIST SHIT?!, Vick-EHHH gets all nursemaid-maternal over poor sick hurt widdle JAYH-son with his boo-boo head (IT’S JUST A FLESHWOUND) and forgets to chastise him until much later and it’s a total cop-out sad sack non-chastisement. At some point in all this, she asks him if he owns slaves, you know, back then, and HE SAYS YES. But! But she taught him about how it was bad to own people and he’s definitely going to free his slaves when he gets home! It’s weird because I don’t remember this discussion on race and morality coming up at all, but OK. I guess he’s reading between the lines. Later the police interview him and everyone is like, well! We’ve decided you’re a hero and a national treasure!, and then the nurse comes in to give him a tetanus shot IN HIS BUTT and JAYH-son gets all, “Ah will nevah allaw a woman ta poke at mah bahcksahde with such ah lahrge neehdle. Ah ahm ah gentahlemahn!” Translation: I am a huge baby! Wah, wah, wah!

Eventually he gets his shot like a good boy and they have a fascinating talk about tetanus shots. “You mean, if these existed in…in MY time and I brought one to my dying brother it would probably save him?” “Yep! Uh huh! Right! Exactly!” “Oh. Well. I certainly won’t steal one and disappear back into the past.” “Hehe! Let’s snuggle!” Vick-EHHHH is kind of dumb. And she only gets dumber, because when she wakes up and finds JAYH-son gone, she immediately rushes home to go after him. Gramps is there – with the horses saddled and ready to go! – so they set off together to…I don’t know. Convince him not to go back and save his dying brother? Go with him to the mid-19th century? Look at him from afar and then return home for some lemonade? I don’t know what the motivation is here but THEY HAVE TO GET THERE. So then they get there and Vick-EHHHHHHHHHHHH can feel the…thing…that sucked her into the past last time and her horse is like, what the eff have you got us into?!, so she kicks the horse super hard and the horse goes, KICK ME WILL YOU?, and bolts. Into the time warp. Because obviously if I’m a horse and a big scary thing is ahead of me, what I want to do is run toward it instead of turning around and running in the direction where there is nothing scary at all. Horses are chickens. They’re big but they’re chickens. So, whatever. But anyway Vick-EHHHH and her horse are racing into the past and at one point Vick-EHHHHH even closes her eyes because why not and then…poof. They’ve arrived! Vick-EHHHH is almost immediately spotted by an eagle-eyed Yankee and questioned as to her identity and intentions. She handles this so badly! I cannot even believe how badly she stuffed this up! She just, what, rode into the middle of a battle without giving thought to what would happen when she got there? And no plan about how she would explain it? This woman! I don’t understand! So basically they assume she’s a spy and she does a shit job of telling them she’s not a spy so then they ask if she’s looking for her husband and she doesn’t do the smart thing which would be to immediately burst into tears and say YES YES MY HUSBAND I JUST WANT TO SEE HIM ONE LAST TIME SOB SOB SOB, in fact she says nothing, so this one Yank who’s a jerk is like, ooooh a spy and a slut, I see! And then Vick-EHHHH, MENSA member, decides to run away…TOWARD THE YANKEE ENCAMPMENT. Shock of shocks, she doesn’t get far before she is captured. She reiterates that she is not a spy, but then she starts thinking about stuff she DOES know and that includes Jubal Early and I sort of just tuned out the story to think about the only Jubal Early who matters to me – wasn’t Richard Brooks good? Wasn’t he super scary? I was so scared! Especially for poor Kaylee! Oh my god, Kaylee, honey…!

Oh, and guess who happened to follow along behind Vick-EHHHH! Gramps, of course!!! He manages not to be a total disaster and heads the opposite direction from the Yankees. And he even manages to eavesdrop, find out where she’s being taken, then find JAYH-son’s men and have them take him to JAYH-son and then ride like hell to rescue Vick-EHHHHHH, who meanwhile is being mistreated and threatened with rape by the Very Evil Yankee Captain. His voice is my very favorite. He’s EVIL, see, so he sort of sounds like an old timey gangster crossed with…a duck. I don’t know what the narrator is going for here, exactly, but I know I like it! (Another guy I thought for a little while had, like, a severe speech impediment, but then I realized it was supposed to be a Scottish accent!) So the dudes show up and rescue the lady and then Gramps has a heart attack!!!! And they have to rush him back through the portal and JAYH-son goes with her but as soon as they’re on the other side, Vick-EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH is like no no you can’t come you have to go back the portal is closing!, and JAYH-son is like, ok but first let’s get your grandfather to the hospital, but Vick-EHHH is like NO NO NO WE WILL DISCUSS THIS NOW. I am confused about her motivations here? At the hospital it turns out that Gramps is totally fine, just over exerted himself, so Vick-EHHHH and JAYH-son head back to the old homestead to say goodbye with their genitals and then they go to the portal and Gramps is there! This guy is a machine! And this is how their conversation goes:

 Gramps: You love him! You should go with him!

Vick-EHHHH: But I love you! I can’t leave you!

G: Well, you’re going to have to!

V: NOOOO I CAN’T I CAN’T!

G: Look, honey, I am gonna die soon!

V: YOUUUUU NEEEEEED MEEEEEEE!

G: I don’t! I am telling you that I don’t!

V: I’ll never leave you Gramps!!!!!!!

Obviously I think she should stay behind in the present – I mean, hello, running water and antibiotics and women’s suffrage and birth control. They should both stay in the present, but JAYH-son has to, like, save Robert E Lee’s life or something so he can’t.

Eventually Gramps just sort of shoves her towards the portal and then runs away to escape her incessant nattering and complete inability to listen to a damn thing he’s saying. But she runs after him and catches up to him and they have a goodbye moment and then she hurries to catch up to JAYH-son. There’s also something about, like, ghosts or souls or something that are stuck in the portal and want to capture Vick-EHHHH and JAYH-son – that’s not really fleshed out, no pun intended – but they get through and they smooch on the lips and then they ride off to have a happy life together until JAYH-son gets killed by a stray bullet or Vick-EHHHH dies in childbirth. No, just kidding, of course! See, the black doctor Sam (remember him?) does a little research AS ONE DOES and he totally uncovers JAYH-son and Vick-EEEE in the past and they totally have 5 kids (not trying very hard, you know what I’m saying? not so happily ever after?) and the doctor just sort of presents this information to Gramps with a smile. I’m sorry, but what? WHAT? “Oh, hey, something was weird about your granddaughter’s boyfriend so I looked him up in the historical records and it’s just like I thought, he’s a time traveler!” Whatever, man.

I guess that sort of sums up the book for me (a synecdoche, if you will) – nothing makes sense and everyone knows more than they should and Vick-EHHH is a doofus. I’m not going to make jokes about how everyone from the south is stupid, because I don’t believe that, but…let’s just say I think it’s sweet that someone as dumb as Vick-EHHHHH managed to find some weirdo to love her. There’s hope for all of us, you know?
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