by Suzanne Macpherson

August 2003
ISBN: 0-380-82104-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

A hard life has taught Kelly Atwood from a young age, to depend only on herself. But her handsome and charming boss has swept her off her feet with his sweet words and they’d married. Which is why it comes as a severe shock to Kelly when she discovers the dark side of her husband of a few hours. She knocks him out flat with a surprising left hook and makes a dash for independence, unknowingly carrying off a suitcase brimming with cash. Little does this spunky city girl know what kind of unsavory characters will come after her for the money!

On the bus, she meets and pours out her heart and troubles to the chatty Myrtle Crabtree who impulsively invites Kelly to come stay in her home in the beautiful tiny town of Paradise. But Myrtle has some hidden motives of her own for doing this – turns out that she and the rest of Paradise are hell bent on matchmaking Kelly up with probably the most gentlemanly and certainly the most eligible bachelor of Paradise, the handsome and charming lawyer Sam Grayson.

Her spiky hair and short tight clothes make Kelly stand out in this otherwise old fashioned town. But there’s a warmth which these kind people radiate and a way of making Kelly feel included and right at home, which endears this gregarious and closely-knit community to her. Sam, of course, is a hunk to tempt even the bruised heart of this runaway bride. Sam is equally attracted but he has a nasty stalker-like ex-girlfriend who refuses to give him up!

Soon, events in Kelly’s past catch up with her. Now the vital question is - will she get a second chance at love or is she doomed to disappointment?!

Yes, this latest Suzanne Macpherson story is not very original; yes it’s somewhat predictable; yes, the suspense is a bit thin. But, it has to be said - yes, it’s also surprisingly appealing and full of enjoyment!

The characters (a town full of them) play a very important role in preventing this novel from falling into the chasm of banality. They’re fun, they’re outrageously sweet and their determined matchmaking schemes are worthy of a general in wartime! Kelly is the brat-girl with a golden heart from California who should have stuck out like a sore thumb in this hick town, that seems stuck in a 1950s time warp. Instead, her coming stirs things up and she becomes a community project. Sam is the quintessential gentleman, almost too good to be true, but this makes him a perfect if slightly dreary hero. They ignite passion in each other and sensuality soars. But the past soon rears its ugly head and from then on, the relationship between Kelly and Sam becomes a little less hunky-dory. Things are then resolved in typical Macpherson manner which involves a lot of comical antics, and unnecessary but intriguing twists and turns in the plot.

And when the book finally ends, the readers are left with a feeling of satisfaction and a happy smile on their faces - and this, more than anything else, makes this book a deserving escapist read!

Reviewed in October 2003 by Rashmi.

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