Sunday, March 27, 2011

Retro-Review: Glamorous Romances #48, Part 4!

And now we come to the final tale in this issue, “Forbidden Enchantment,” which opens with Laurel King, debutante, niece of millionaire automobile manufacturer Ned King. She was dating Mel Armstrong secretly, because her uncle didn't approve (and he was her guardian, after all). They meet in a park, where Laurel's concerned about a man who's been giving her the eye there.

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Mel's concerned about marrying Laurel, because he's already supporting his sister in Texas (who doesn't have any money, having spent it all), and he couldn't stand not being able to support Laurel in the manner she's accustomed to if Laurel got cut off from her inheritance. Ned's sure that Laurel will be able to make her uncle understand in the end. While they eat lunch, the handsome stranger in the park appears in the restaurant, making Laurel uncomfortable, making them decide to leave after establishing a new place to meet in secret. As Laurel leaves the restaurant, the man approaches Laurel, saying he's admired her photos on the society page, and wants to paint her portrait. He finally introduces himself as Grant Welles, and suddenly she sees him in a different light!

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Laurel agrees to pose for him. When she gets home, she tells her uncle about Grant wanting to paint her, but he's more concerned about her meeting Mel for lunch. When she asks him how he knows, he tells her never mind, keep away from Mel, because Mel's just a fortune-hunter. She tells her uncle she'll see him anyway. Before her uncle can spank some sense into her, the phone rings. It's Grant, inviting her for a drive to the shore to get in the mood for that portrait. She agrees, even though the shore ends up not being as stormy as Grant said it would be. After Grant compliments her eyes, she asks him to take her home. On the drive back, Laurel tells him all about her and Mel, and a friendship springs up. The next day, however, Mel warn her about Grant, thinking he's just after Laurel's money, but Laurel doesn't believe it. Laurel figures Mel's just jealous. The next day, Laurel goes to Grant's studio to pose, where she learns that Grant intends to steal her away from Mel.

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As she poses, Grant opines that the only reason Laurel's in love with Mel is because it's a forbidden romance, and her uncle's disapproval makes Mel more fascinating. She disagrees. After posing, Grant walks her to where Mel is waiting for Laurel, and the two men exchange some tame bon mots. All through dinner, Mel is irritable. His jealously grows worse, and one day Laurel finds Mel waiting outside Grant's studio, because Mel doesn't want Laurel alone with the artist. Mel convinces Laurel to stop posing, and she passes that on at the end of the current session – Grant promising he'll never forget Laurel's face, and will finish the painting from memory. He does give her a kiss good-bye, one that leaves Laurel disturbed and confused, and sending her pulse racing. When she leaves the studio, Mel is there waiting for her.

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Mel, of course, isn't satisfied with Laurel no longer posing for Grant... instead, he keeps goading her about it, irritating her to no end. When Laurel arrives at home, she finds Grant's there with her uncle! To her surprise, she finds that Grant has talked her uncle into giving his blessing for Laurel to marry Mel. Laurel calls him immediately to tell him the news. That evening, when they meet, Mel kisses her, but because it's no longer a forbidden romance, there's no excitement to it! Mel tells her if she doesn't marry him now, he's through!

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Well, this finally gets Laurel to see the light, and she tells Mel she can't marry him. Mel figures she's fallen for Grant, and tells her that her uncle's hired Grant to paint murals in his new office building... and Mel figures her uncle paid him to break the two up, as well! Mel leaves, and Laurel re-enters her home, telling her uncle they've broken up. Her uncle says that Grant figured that would be the case, and he wants to tell Grant the news immediately. He also confesses that he hired Grant to paint the murals, too. Laurel immediately assumes that he hired Grant to spy on her and Mel, as well as to paint her portrait! Despite all this, Laurel goes back to Mel.

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Having changed her mind about eloping, Mel and Laurel head to Grand Central Station, but they are almost stopped by uncle Ned, Grant, and another man. The two don't stop, and head to the station, and enter a waiting train. Suddenly, Grant and the other man enter the drawing room, and we learn that the unidentified man is a police detective, and that Mel is really Jim Stevens, wanted in Waco, Texas, for misuse of funds entrusted to him for his younger sister. As Mel/Jim is led away, Grant tells her about what was really going on with Mel. As the train starts to pull out of the station, Grant tells her he loves her, and not because her uncle paid him to! He did fall for her from her photos on the society page, and her uncle new it. The story closes as he asks her to marry him, and she accepts.

Yes, my friends, this was yet another very fast relationship, as well as another moronic heroine who is all to fast to believe anything anybody tells her, and needing someone else to do things for her own good (wow, almost sounds like a Silver Age Lois Lane story, doesn't it?).

One more thing: Since when do famous portrait painters get hired to paint murals on buildings?

The last page was only 2/3 of the page, and the remaining page is taken up with a poem, “After That Kiss,” authored by someone who only went by the initials “A.H.”

Next time: Zago, Jungle Prince #1!

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