by Rida Allen

July 2001
ISBN: 1-58851-024-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Publish America
Mass Market Paperback

Great Love is a great book, made even better by a heroine who doesn't fit into your typical leading lady mold.

Full figured Samantha Velmar has given up on finding a love of her own. Experience has taught her that no man would find her desirable, so she's turned her attentions to her dog and her home. A chance encounter with hunky business executive, Jonathan Edwards alters her carefully created world. But she has a hard time believing that Jon is interested in more than friendship with her.

Jonathan has never really thought about getting married before. But a clause in his father's will puts the future of his company at stake unless he marries within the year. Unwilling to lose the company that has been his life for many years, he has to think about what he truly wants for his future and in a wife.

Meeting the soft, curvy Sam was a dream come true. She's everything he could hope for in a spouse, will or no will. Now all he has to do is convince her that she's what he wants and whom he loves.

I totally loved this story. Sam faced some of the problems that plus size women everywhere have faced. She has the same insecurities, the doubts and bad experiences. But she's also a wonderful, caring individual who has made a life for herself despite being on her own since she was 16.

Jonathan is awesome - he's supportive, romantic and does everything he can think of to make Sam feel like a princess.

My favorite thing about this book is that Sam talks. Regardless of her size and upbringing she does what so many heroines in other books do not do. She tells Jonathan when she's upset. She doesn't hold things in and she recognizes the difference between knowing something with your head and being unsure in your heart. She's honest with Jonathan and herself about her feelings and does it with such intelligence and style that this book has earned a permanent place on my keeper shelves.

The only reason I didn't give Great Love a perfect five rose rating is because it starts off a bit stilted. The first few chapters are missing that natural flow that writers spend years cultivating. But then this is Rida Allen's first published work and once you get past the first few chapters, the characters themselves draw you in and make you care about what's going on in their world.

I'm looking forward to reading more of Ms. Allen's work. And I'm hoping that there's a story coming out soon featuring Sam's sister Becki. Becki is in a hard place and I would be interested in a story about realizing her own worth and finding a true love of her own.

Reviewed in September 2001 by JaToya.

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