by Patty Rice

February 2003
ISBN: 0-515-13467-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Jove Books
Mass Market Paperback

An abusive relationship has taken up seven years of Camille Fosterís life. It has cost her her job and more importantly, her soul. Sheís got only one chance to survive. Thatís to reinvent her life and find out who she is and what she really wants.

Having nowhere else to turn, Camille returns home to Maryland to the welcoming arms of her sister Mel. Though home is a temporary haven from the violent Evan, for Camille it's also a virtual photograph of painful childhood memories, images of the many years she felt unloved and neglected by her parents.

As she struggles to move on without Evan, Camille is shocked by her motherís unanticipated interest in her life. She is even more stunned when her mother uses her own friendship with self-help guru Nora Jordan to help Camille get a top position with Noraís company. While working together, Camille and Nora develop a strong friendship, which they build over deep conversations and long walks in the park.

Though she still believes herself to be in love with Evan, Camille canít deny her attraction to Greg Emory, the handsome Director of Marketing. Heís willing to accept all of her, even the fact that sheís having Evanís child.

As the two plan a wedding and look towards the future, the past looms menacingly in the shadows. Camille finds it very hard to commit to Gregís love when she still feels rejected by her parents. Before she can find peace within herself, Camille must unearth the key to happiness and realize the first step to love is by loving oneself.

Her journey wonít be an easy one. The path is covered with sharp thorns. Will Camille be strong enough to survive the trip of discovery, or will Evan and the revelation of family secrets leave her stranded in a pit of despair?

Though interesting overall, I found this story to be a bit bland at times. At the beginning of the novel, I was immediately caught up in Camilleís quest to escape her harsh life (which Patty Rice describes extremely well), and I was shocked by the surprising twist at the end. Unfortunately, the twist was so wild and unbelievable that it sent me into a bit of confusion. Iím still reeling.

In the middle of the book I sometimes grew apathetic. With little sympathy for the characters, I found myself rushing to make my way through the book only to be disappointed when I realized that this was not a typical happily ever after kind of story.

Still, Reinventing the Woman is an interesting read, especially if youíre looking to recharge your life. Rice gives some really great tips about inner makeovers and does a satisfactory job of detailing a life of extreme challenges while highlighting the strength of a womanís spirit.

Reviewed in February 2003 by Natasha.

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