The Magic Pen Saves All

An Independent Wife - Linda Howard

I skimmed it. I admit it. I skimmed it because if I'd read it chapter by chapter, page by page, paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence, word by word, I would have torn it into confetti, thrown it on the floor, and jumped up and down like some cartoon character, stomping it into the floor.


The "H" - and I use that term loosely - preyed upon a grieving young woman, and was a royal douchebag to her about her fears.


Predator. That's what he was.


The setup was this; her parents were killed when she was about 19 I think. She, in her grief, attached herself to the elderly neighbor. The elderly neighbor died 2 months later, the neighbor's nephew saw her at the funeral, felt sorry for her, and decided to do the great service of making her his wife so she wasn't all by her lonesome. They were married within a very short period of time. The nephew is a field reporter and goes into dangerous places. The heroine is sheltered. This globetrotting genius tells her he doesn't want kids yet but apparently makes no effort to prevent that (or suggest she get on the pill, or..anything). She gets knocked up. He's pissed and accuses her of trying to trap him (eh?). While he's on assignment, he gets shot. Heroine goes into premature labor and has a stillbirth. Two months later, he leaves her, telling her to call him when she's "woman enough to handle him".


In one of their later arguments during the story, he pretty much admits that was the only reason he asked her out - because she was pitiful, alone, and needy.


7 years later, she's in the field she wanted him to get out of (she was terrified of losing him too, but apparently self-absorbed douchebag thought she was stupid for being so). He buys magazine she works for, and proceeds to essentially shut her out of work, eventually letting her boss know he was claiming her (which led to her unemployment), moving her belongings from her apartment, forcing her to move in with him where she...contentedly worked on the Great American Novel? At least until the model he'd been allowing to tag along with him tells her she's preggers with his kid too. Then she bolts.


She waffles for 2 months (there's that 2 month thing again) and is about decided she can't live without him when he shows up on her doorstep. He looks pitiful, and admits to her that part of the reason he was an ass to her was because the Magic Pen stopped writing for anyone other than this pathetic loser he'd married. Well, I don't know about pathetic loser, but I'd believe TSTL If she'd had an ounce of self preservation, at the point where he essentially fired her, he'd met with a mysterious end. NY is right on the Atlantic, and I'm sure one could manage to find a swampy area somewhere on the Hudson to feed the lobsters.


No apology. Nothing. Just admitting that he couldn't handle that his pen only worked for her and he took it out on her. But that wasn't the only thing he needed to apologize for. There was a very needed grovel for the absolute lack of support following the loss of a child. There was the preying on a person who needed a friend and support; not a jackass who added MORE stress to her life. And not much of one (and what little there was, she mostly ignored/excused) for costing her her career.