by Greg Ebisch

December 2001
ISBN: 0-8034-9502-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Avalon Books
Mass Market Paperback

To Breathe Again is a pretty straight forward book. There is definitely a romance wound through the story but it doesn't seem to be the focus of the book - more like it's incorporated with everything else… which I have to figure why it's called a Career Romance.

Summyr Fox's life is spinning a bit of kilter. She's trying her best to keep her fledgling Yoga studio going while working part time at a health store and recouping from the loss of her fiancé over a year ago - in other words, she's stretched pretty thin. When she loses her job and the lease on her studio is cancelled, things go from difficult to nearly impossible. It's little wonder that she spends as much time figuring out how to get her life back on track as she does thinking about new and intriguing Steven Rafferty.

Steven is a bit of a mystery. He joins her class, as per his doctor's instructions, to help his injured shoulder heal. At least that's what he says. But although he seems very interested in Summyr and wastes no time asking her out, he seems very preoccupied with fellow student Alicia Molloy. No matter how much time she spends with him, Summyr can't help but feel she doesn't quite know the real Steve and the last thing she wants to do is get involved with someone who's interested in someone else.

Summyr is a very solid character. She's intelligent, hard working and she's got a great deal of common sense. She seems to know herself well and that's always an asset. Reading To Breathe Again, you get to know Summyr very well. And I grew to like her.

Steven, on the other hand, is a lot harder to know. I've grown fond of the current style that many authors have of getting into both the male and female characters heads. I find it adds to the story to know what both characters are thinking and it gives them an added depth as you come to know them as intimately as the author does. But this author stayed firmly planted in the head of Summyr. Steven was a mystery for a great portion of the book and although educated guesses could be made about what was going on and why he was doing certain things (this is after all a romance and as such has a certain amount of predictability) you never really knew for sure until he told Summyr in the end.

This book doesn't have a great deal of wild, uninhibited passion flowing through it. And for many of us avid readers of romance, this book may lack that "little something" we're use to from so many of our best selling authors. But what this book does have is a good female heroine and a reality to it that so many of the passion filled novels don't have. You can actually imagine all of the things that happened to Summyr happening to you. There are side stories going on and one revolving around a friend of Summyr's and her lack of confidence in herself is one that we see all the time in ourselves or in others close to us. It was a pleasure reading about Summyr's friend and knowing that she's grows stronger. In fact I'd be delighted to read about her in a story all her own.

I very much recommend this book for when you need to ground yourself in the reality of romance and not the fantasy of it. Not that there's anything wrong with a great deal of fantasy all the time. :-)

Reviewed in December 2001 by JaToya.

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