By Alison Fraser
This was a 5 star Harlequin romance and a 3-star novel. So…4 stars is fair, I think. Sara is a sensible, intelligent social worker still mourning her clever doctor husband who had a coronary in his early thirties. She is called to the police station to handle a runaway 13-year-old boy who is obviously from a privileged background. She finds out his guardian is a handsome film star who is egotistical and arrogant. She is unimpressed. She doesn’t own a TV and the last movie she saw was E.T. 5 years ago. He falls for her pretty quickly, she is skeptical and a much tougher sell. The courtship ensues.
My favorite part is when he invites her to a very glamorous and sophisticated New Year’s Eve party and gives her some hints about the dress code as if she wasn’t worldly enough to realize she shouldn’t wear her habitual jeans and old sweater. she decides to teach him a lesson by wearing a trenchcoat and a checkered old woolen scarf over her gown. And slaps on a Paddington bear rain hat for good measure. The clever part is that the reader is kept in the dark as to whether she followed through with her first impulse to wear a gold lame leopard skin gown or something appropriate.
I loved the London of the 1980s scene, Sara’s background, family, and personality. She kept her integrity throughout. The hero started out seeming like a shallow jerk, but his true worth is slowly revealed. There’s a little mystery as to the nature of the relationship between his ward and himself because the reader realizes early on that he is not the boy’s father as Sarah thinks.
This little category romance is very well written. This is better written than some of the best-selling and popular chick-lit or historical romances I have read recently. It serves as a reminder to me that they shouldn’t be discounted when one is looking for a quick nice story and good romance. At 187 pages or so, they are over before the author can get repetitive or start belaboring the plot and character development. This one left me wanting more of the same. Unfortunately, it’s hard to separate the “wheat” from the “chafe”, there’s just so many of them. Only a few of the authors are consistently excellent and many of those go on to mainstream novel writing.
September 22, 2019