The Second HoneymoonMarch 21, 2007
The Second Honeymoon, by Ruby Mildred Ayres, is another disappointing one. I mean, I like a story-extending romantic misunderstanding as much as the next person, but there’s got to be something else going on, too. And then, one misunderstanding can only take you so far unless you dither a lot. I frown upon dithering in fiction. Ayres does not. I read this after seeing an ad for it in the back of Little Old New York. I guess I’m going to be putting the other authors I found there on hold for a bit.
Jimmy Challoner is engaged to an actress named Cynthia Farrow. He passionately adores her. Unfortunately, he’s not all that well off — he’s dependent on his older brother, The Great Horatio. The Great Horatio is not a magician, but an invalid who mostly lives abroad and gives Jimmy a quarterly allowance. Several characters in this book comment on the fact that Jimmy could always, you know, go out and get a job, but since that’s dropped without really being resolved, we’re forced to assume that love is more important that paid employment. I mean, I get that love is more important than paid employment in novels like this, but you can’t just assume that it is; you have to make a case for it.
Anyway, one night Jimmy goes to see Cynthia backstage before the show and she seems kind of upset, but Jimmy’s an oblivious idiot, so he doesn’t notice. The reader, however, would have to be more than an oblivious idiot to do the same — Ayres doesn’t so much hint as say “Cynthia’s not really in love with him.” In all caps. Multiple times.
Then Jimmy runs into Mrs. Wyatt — with whom he used to live for a while when he was a kid — and her pretty, innocent daughter Christine. You can see where this is going, right? During intermission Jimmy goes back to see Cynthia and she dumps him for a rich guy named Mortlake. Only she doesn’t tell him that. Instead she says that she has a husband still living. Oh well, at least she’s creative.
1. Jimmy’s friend Sangster tells him how she lied.
2. Jimmy starts hanging out with Christine, who is in love with him.
3. Mrs. Wyatt dies.
4. Jimmy and Christine get married. He doesn’t love her, but he feels sorry for her. Sangster, on the other hand, does both.
5. Christine finds out about Jimmy and Cynthia and tells him she hates him.
6. Cynthia gets into a car crash and dies. Her last words are a request for someone to send for Jimmy
When Christine hears that, she gets even angrier and runs off to her house in the country after making Jimmy promise not to communicate with her for six months. Jimmy, who by this time kind of is in love with Christine, is so unhappy about this that he makes himself ill, literally. Then comes most of the dithering, as both of them hope for the other one to get in touch first. After a while, during which at least one more person falls in love with Christine, Ayres decides that the book has gone on for long enough, and has Christine realize that she still loves Jimmy. The two of them cry over each other a lot. The End.
In conclusion: this sucked.