Breaking All the Rules
Sue Civil-Brown
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Breaking All the Rules

Sue Civil-Brown
378 pages
September 2002
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Paradise Beach is once again the setting for the USA Today bestselling author Sue Civil-Brown’s latest romantic comedy, Breaking All The Rules. It all starts when Miss Mary Todd, up to her usual larks, decides to hold a mock bombing of the beach using a Flying Fortress aircraft. This gives her greedy nephew, Linus Todd, a perfect opening for once again trying to have Mary declared incompetent, to get his grubby hands on her prime beachfront property. Having a hidden agenda of her own, Mary deliberately sabotages her own case and manages to lose, in spite of the best efforts of her attorney and protégé, Richard Haversham Wesley, III. This enrages Erin Kelly, for whom Mary has always been a role model, and she decides to try a few Mary-like shenanigans of her own to try and salvage the whole disastrous situation.

Meanwhile, Mary seems to be sinking into a deep, uncharacteristic depression that has everyone worried. In desperation, Ted Wannamaker, Mary long-time beau, tries something devious for the first time in his life. Unfortunately it backfires and results in Mary being married to her first beau, the former Mob boss Pete Lewis. In the meantime, Richard and Erin find themselves very attracted to each other. There is the added complication that the very sight of Richard tends to bring out the vamp in Erin’s younger sister, Seana. Then, thanks to Erin, the Mob rolls into the town and all hell breaks loose as panic-stricken Paradise Beach residents decide to hire some muscle for their own protection. The climax is an outrageously wacky Mob war the likes of which you have never read anywhere.

Sue Civil-Brown (who also writes as Rachel Lee) once again delivers a comedy comprised of the various shenanigans of the octogenarians of Paradise Beach, headed by the peerless Mary Todd. There are many characters in this book and Mary, with her devious ways and mischief making tendencies, is reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Puck. The plot is nothing unique; Civil-Brown has drawn repeatedly on the antics of Mary Todd and company for comedy in her books and it becomes banal after a while. Erin, with her smart-ass attitude, wild fantasies, and inclination to go to the Confessional at the least excuse, is also not very credible. There is comedy galore but not much substance. Overall, though, Breaking All the Rules is a good book for a little light-hearted reading.

© 2002 by Rashmi Srinivas for Curled Up With a Good Book

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