Genres: contemporary category romance
What tickled my fancy: the swimsuit model heroine’s looks are only improved by a bit of leftover baby tummy. Maybe I should be hopping a plan to Australia?
What ticked me off: I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to see slut-shaming in a Harlequin Presents!
Who might like this: Readers who like the angsty but less rigidly formulaic HPs of the 80s and 90s, and those who enjoy a really love-struck, emotional hero.
Miranda Lee is the go to Harlequin Presents author if you want a little envelope pushing, and she pushes it way out there in this one. I mean, I was startled once when she wrote a heroine who dyed her hair — not to save a dying relative or anything, but just because she thought it looked better! I don’t know what was more surprising here, the heroine who commits adultery or the hero who cries.
Photographer Luke has never been able to forget the woman who picked him up one night and then disappeared without a word. He bitterly assumes that she was just a tramp, not realizing that she’d actually been watching too many “Heart” videos.
When they met up again 18 months later, Luke discovers that Rachel had been married when they met and is now a widow — and surprise! the mother of a baby. But the story doesn’t go exactly where you’d expect; it twists and turns quite a bit. Except for the prologue, it’s told entirely from Luke’s point of view, so in classic Harlequin hero fashion, Rachel keeps her secrets until the very end.
It was a pretty good read — highly charged, but with some sweet moments, like Luke buying mobiles for Rachel’s baby boy and hoping she won’t mind that one of them has fairies on it. (They had glow in the dark wings, how could he resist?) And though there’s a fair bit of throwing around of words like whore and slut, Rachel is — like most Lee heroines — unusually sexually direct and aggressive. I thought everything happened a little too quickly and could have been fleshed out more, so I’m giving it a C.