I’m hopelessly out of order at this point, but oh well. I keep getting stuck on The Hawk and the Dove, which will never download from Open Library for me. (I’ve checked it out at least 3 times.) But a lot of ancient Anne Mather books have now been digitized, so I may backtrack.
Harlequin Presents #148 – For the Love of Sara by Anne Mather
I kind of love this cover. The heroine looks like she has a terrible headache, and by God, she deserves one.
“Sara, I told you. It’s a long, long way away, where the sun shines all the time.”
“I don’t want the sun to shine all the time.”
For the Love of Sara was published about 3 years after the first Harlequin Presents but it’s like another world. Virginity is still a hot button — heh — and sex is only in the past, but the whole tone of the story is different. It actually starts off with the hero’s point of view, though it does drop it later to keep things suspenseful (a trick that still happens in some HPs.)
Mather tended to be an envelope pusher, which is great in theory but in practice often ends up being fairly icky. This definitely scores high on the ick scale, with the heroine engaged to the father of her former lover and the grandfather of her child. Talk about bad parents — apparently that’s how much dear old dad wanted to score off his son. Another way in which this book is different is that the hero’s father is considerably worse than the Evil Other Woman, who actually isn’t all that bad. And there’s a well drawn, far from angelic child character.
The book on the whole is thoughtful and intriguing, which perhaps makes it worse that the heroine stunk up the whole thing. I was seriously tempted to change my “heroine needs a kick in the pants” tag to “heroine needs to be thrown through a plate-glass window.” However, this is a very tense time in our lives, so I’ll try to keep it sane.
But seriously, what an awful, dislikable person Rachel is. I’m not generally upset by secret baby stories, but Rachel is so obviously at fault here, and so damn stubborn for so long.
— She kept her pregnancy secret from Joel, and continues to distrust him and try to push him away, despite his interest in getting to know his child.
— Rachel is marrying James because he’s promised to donate a kidney to Sara. She assumes that if the operation is not successful, she won’t have to go through with the marriage. (Hey, dude still gave up his kidney!) Later when he asks if she was thinking about changing her mind about marriage after the operation, she’s indignant to be asked.
— After Rachel has an old skool fall — from running away from Joel while refusing to listen to what he’s actually saying — and requires surgery, her main freak out is about her head being shaved.
Joel is no saint, mind you, especially when he mocks Rachel for insisting that just because she was a virgin when they had sex, he should marry her. Though it is fairly mockworthy, for 1975. But he takes responsibility for his behavior, which is more than Rachel ever does.
So — not a bad book, but I kind of wish Joel had just sued for custody and never had to deal with Rachel again.