Obviously, you should read my review of The Love Trilogy #1 Loving before you go any further.
When last we met our heroine, the RAVEN HAIRED Caitlin Ryan, she was blissfully in love with cleft-chinned cowboy Jed Michaels, but burdened with the guilty secret of her unintentional role in The Accident.
The Accident is a huge part of Loving and I probably should have explained it in more detail earlier, but it is so convoluted and ridiculous that I was hoping it would go away. But no, The Accident is here to stay. Apparently, it cannot be contained by only one book! So, I will do my best to explain it to you, but please know in advance, it is not going to make any sense. Because it actually doesn’t. Just go with it!
Here goes: Caitlin Ryan, RAVEN HAIRED rich bitch extraordinaire falls in love at first sight with Jed Michaels. Caitlin throws herself at Jed, but he isn’t interested because he thinks Caitlin is a bitch and Jed’s mother is a bitch and he just doesn’t like bitches. Besides he’s already dating a scholarship girl named Diana. Jed is really into Diana, because she’s really poor and helpless and fragile and totally reminds him of his sister and apparently he’s into that kind of thing. Meanwhile, Caitlin is producing a drag show at school – for charity of course – and needed a shovel for a prop. She uses this as a pretext to lurk over to the dean’s house – where Diana is babysitting – to see if Jed and Diana are making out or studying or something. When Caitlin arrives at the house, Diana is inside answering the phone and the dean’s 6-year-old son Ian is contentedly playing in the yard by himself. Jed is nowhere to be found. No one sees Caitlin as she sneaks into the backyard and unlocks the shed to take a shovel. She’s in such a hurry to leave that she forgets to lock the shed. As soon as Caitlin is out of sight, Ian immediately wanders over to the shed, goes inside and eats a bunch of pesticides. He wanders back out and then falls down, hits his head and slips into a coma. Eventually, he wakes up, but he’s mysteriously paralyzed from the waist down.
Everyone blames The Accident on Diana, because she wasn’t watching Ian and must have left the shed unlocked. Even thought Diana knows she locked the shed, she also knows no one else could have left it unlocked. But, no one knows that Caitlin was there, and of course Caitlin doesn’t confess. Confessing is for poor people! Diana feels extremely guilty about The Accident and drops out of school and breaks up with Jed and disappears. Caitlin also feels really bad for her role in The Accident, and also for letting Diana take the fall, but not bad enough to keep her from scooping up Jed and making him her own.
When we rejoin this saga, Caitlin and Jed have been desperately and beautifully in love for months now. The only thing that mars their perfect coupling is the secret of Caitlin’s role in The Accident.
Jed’s love has TOTALLY changed Caitlin! Nowadays, she spends her afternoons helping poor, paralyzed Ian learn to walk again. She tells herself that if she can help Ian walk again it will balance out her culpability. She’s like a miracle worker! Ian loves her, his family loves her and even the professional medical staff is impressed by Caitlin’s almost supernatural healing abilities. Its like she was born to tend to sick people! Like it is in her genes or something (hint, hint)!
When she isn’t making miracles, Caitlin is kinda obsessed with the fate of Diana. She asks around about her and eventually finds out that Diana is anorexic now and has been hospitalized. For some reason, everyone calls it “anorectic”, which is an official word but I don’t think it applies in this case. (Clearly, A LOT of medical research has gone into The Trilogies). One of the best/worst parts of this epic tale is the misinformation about anorexia. Of course, Caitlin knows that this anorexia was caused by the guilt Diana feels about The Accident, and The Accident was really Caitlin’s fault and therefore Caitlin caused Diana’s anorexia! Of course she did! Because that’s totally how anorexia works! (It isn’t.)
Jed Michaels: Creepy Cleft-Chinned Cowboy
Remember how Caitlin wrote Jed a letter confessing her role in The Accident, but decided not to give it to him and instead hid the letter in book? Remember how that seemed like a bad idea? It totally was, because Jed finds the letter and he is PISSED. He actually wants to kill Caitlin, but decides that maybe he will just rape her instead. Seriously.
Thankfully, he decides at the last minute that while Caitlin deserved to be raped, he just couldn’t do it, so he just goes back to Montana for the summer.
Confused and hurt, Caitlin knows that she can’t live without Jed so she decides she needs to do something to prove to Jed how sorry she is for lying about The Accident. I mean, a girl can’t just give up on a guy just because he tries to rape her, right?
Its pretty obvious what Caitlin needs to do to make things right. She immediately tracks down Diana at the Eating Disorder Hospital and – using a fake name and wearing a disguise – she signs up as a volunteer.
This is not just any disguise, you guys.
It isn’t like she just puts on glasses with a fake nose and mustache attached and calls it good. No, this is a serious disguise. Caitlin slicks her hair back, uses makeup to make herself pale and tired looking, gets some frumpy clothes, puts on a pair of glasses and – presto-chango! – she is unrecognizable!
Having basically morphed into someone else, Caitlin becomes a volunteer at the hospital, passing out magazines and books to the patients. When she finds Diana catatonic and refusing to eat, she requests that the hospital allow her to try to help the girl. Obviously, they agree. How could they not? Who wouldn’t allow a random teenager unfettered access to a severely mentally ill patient?
So, armed with a couple of library books on anorexia and a little elbow grease, Caitlin cures Diana of anorexia!
Initially, Caitlin’s treatment plan of holding Diana’s hand and whispering generic encouragement in her ear doesn’t work. In desperation, she whispers to Diana that the accident wasn’t her fault and that someone else had left the shed unlocked. Obviously, this totally does the trick and Diana wakes up and starts eating again.
All of the doctors and hospital staff are thrilled and impressed by Caitlin. She’s like The Anorexia Whisperer!
At first, Diana doesn’t recognize Caitlin. How could she? Caitlin does have her hair in a bun and is wearing glasses. She thinks that Caitlin is just a random traveling miracle worker named “Karen Martin”. But, as Caitlin’s anorexia treatments continue, Diana starts to think that she recognizes Caitlin’s voice. Unsure of herself, Diana invites Laurence, another Highgate Student who knows both girls to help her decide if “Karen Martin” is really Caitlin Ryan. Laurence, who must have x-ray vision or something to see through Caitlin’s brilliant disguise, immediately recognizes her.
But, instead of immediately confronting “Karen”, Laurence and Diana just play along with the charade. Well, that’s probably easier. It might be awkward to point out that Caitlin is wearing a disguise and pretending to be a different person while performing amateur eating disorder treatments.
Meanwhile, Diana’s doctor – the handsome, dark-haired Dr. Westlake – also recognizes Caitlin. After taking to Diana, who tells him that “Karen Martin” = Caitlin Ryan, Dr. Westlake realizes that Caitlin is the daughter of a girl who he had loved and lost 17 years ago – a girl named Laura Ryan (DUN DUN DUN!). Dr Westlake remembers meeting Regina Ryan (AKA Mean Old Grandma) back in the day and decides to pay her a visit to talk about her amazing granddaughter, The Anorexia Whisperer.
Mean Old Grandma remembers Dr. Westlake and immediately announces that he is Caitlin’s father.
Of course he is.
Apparently Dr. Westlake and Laura had fallen in love in college, but Mean Old Grandma didn’t approve, and forbid them to be together. Before she could tear Laura away from the then-struggling medical student, Laura got knocked up. Mean Old Grandma forced Laura to leave without out even saying goodbye to her love, and Dr. Westlake never heard from them again. Laura died giving birth to Caitlin and Mean Old Grandma became her guardian. For convenience’s sake, Mean Old Grandma lied to Caitlin and told her that her father intentionally abandoned her. But in truth, Dr. Westlake didn’t even know she existed.
Now, Dr. Westlake is all excited to tell Miracle Worker Caitlin Ryan that he’s her father.
But, instead of being happy, Caitlin is furious. She thinks Dr. Westlake is lying and that he did abandon her and she hates him. Mean Old Grandma would never lie to her! (BTW, she TOTALLY would.)
But, now that her cover is blown by her super-sleuting secret father, Caitlin has to confess to Diana who she really is and the real reason that she is there at the hospital. In disguise. Curing anorexia. AWKWARD!
Love Lost circa 1991
But, Diana isn’t mad at Caitlin at all! She forgives Caitlin for her role in The Accident and they become really good friends. At the end of the summer, Diana leaves the hospital and moves away, but she and Caitlin vow to be BFFs. Oh and Caitlin starts dating Diana’s friend Laurence, but she just can’t forget about Jed. How could she? Yes, he’s a douchebag with an Oedipus complex, but he does have a cleft chin and rides horses so Caitlin can’t just let a guy like that go!
What will happen when Caitlin and Jed return to Highgate Academy in the fall? Stay tuned for True Love.
Awesome Outfit: Violet Ball gown with a scooped neck and puffed sleeves ending at a row of buttons at the wrist
Cover Art: The original cover of this book (featured at the top of this post) is one of the best of the series. The 1990s reissue of the series to your left is also amazing in its awfulness.