by Susan Donovan

July 2006
ISBN: 0-312-93950-7
Reviewer Graphic Button St. Martin`s Press
Mass Market Paperback

Hairstylist, divorcee and mother of three, Samantha Monroe leads anything but a charmed life. She loves her children, enjoys her job even, but she just can’t seem to make ends meet. When her ex-husband ran out on her, he left her with a pile of debts that just seems to keep growing. But Sam is doing her best. After all, she’s got a best friend, three great kids, and a dog. Sometimes though, she can’t help wishing for a change of luck, or a Prince Charming.

Enter Jack Tolliver, candidate for U.S. Senate. He needs to clean up his image. Years of loving and playing hard have left the impression that he’s nothing more than a shallow womanizer. Now he needs to convince the voters otherwise, and with the help of Sam and her three children, he’s going to do it. He hires her to pretend to be his fiancée for the next six months while he gears up for his campaign. However, there’s one big problem. Sam is not your average, ordinary single mom, at least not in Jack’s eyes. Instead, what he sees is a feisty, intelligent, shy and downright adorable woman who makes his libido sit up and take notice.

As their playacting continues, the attraction brewing between Jack and Sam reaches a fever pitch. Will they give in? With a devious reporter determined to figure out what Jack is up to, and with the mysterious reappearance of Sam’s ex-husband, all added to the craziness that is campaigning, life and love for Jack and Sam is about to get a whole lot more complicated.

You thought real life politics were crazy? Wait until you read The Kept Woman! Politics have never been zanier or more humorous than in Susan Donovan’s latest romance. Sam and Jack’s intense attraction is coupled with their growing respect and ardent regard for each other. Both have worn a façade for such a long time that it proves to be a relief to finally be able to let their guard down around each other. I enjoyed watching them open themselves up to the possibilities of love and happiness. Sam’s family adds a dash of normalcy to their situation, allowing for some amusing moments to crop up between Jack and the kids. There was no doubt in my mind that though he might have been a bit of a playboy, he definitely was not afraid of the challenges Sam and her family threw at him.

Though the pesky reporter proves to be more of a plot annoyance than a true conflict, Sam’s ex-husband truly takes the stage for villainous deeds in this reviewer’s eyes. Conflict, life, and romance collide and explode in The Kept Woman. It’s certainly a fresh take on the standard romance story, where the woman usually vows never to let a man take care of her. Instead, Sam proves that she’s earning her salary, and the respect of the reader, as she faces Jack and the citizens of Indiana to let them know that she’s up to the job.

The Kept Woman is another engaging and rousing romp from the adventurous mind of Ms. Donovan. Not your standard romance fare, but definitely worth reading!

Reviewed in June 2006 by Sarah.

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