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We Can Love Again by Donna Marie
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's review
Jul 29, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: for-review

Broken relationships hurt, and their capacity to keep on hurting is a factor that many underestimate when considering divorce. There is no doubt that some marriages just simply need to end, but even those leave scars, sometimes the worst scars of all. If nothing else, such events in a person's life makes that person very careful. No one enjoys that kind of pain and even if a divorce is "friendly," I have counseled with people who still carry around a vague sense of failure.

This story is about two people who have been hurt: one by the end of a marriage that probably went on too long as it was, and the other by the death of a spouse. Each had tried to move on with their life, but even though they experiences were quite different, these events caused them both to be very careful--careful of their feelings, careful of getting involved, and in Nick's case, careful of his son's attachment to a new woman in his life, one he was not sure would be there very long. That he was even attracted to Julia was a surprise to Nick. He had subjugated his grief in his care of his son and in his teaching career. That Julia seemed to be attracted in return was a surprise--she wasn't really wanting the complication of a relationship. She wasn't really sure there was a place in her life for passion. After all, it really was so disorganized and kind of messy.

This is a complicated novel because it seems that the author looks at each of these individuals not only through the prism of their present involvement, but also as their past has influenced their responses to life and to each other. Certainly Carl's re-entry in Julia's life throws the wrench into the works, but again here comes that careful sense of self-protection again. Perhaps one of the reasons I liked this novel was because I see so many people who are caught in the grip of that kind of self-protection. Each had to consider if any future between them was worth the risk. Nick also had to consider the long-term effects on Sammy, a young boy who had taken a great shine to Julia. And yet, throughout the book there was a sense that Julia and Nick were both trying in the worst way to see the best in each other--loneliness is really no fun.

This is the first Donna Marie novel I have read but I was pleasantly impressed with the quality of the writing as well as the sensitivity the author used in crafting the characters. Why this kind of story came to be is unknown but it is certainly appropriate in a culture where 51% of marriages end in divorce in addition to those individuals whose spouses die. Lots of hurting people in our world. I also think that Julia and Nick ultimately had to made the decision about each other based on their finer instincts and the inner strength of their own character. It's called "facing your fears" and when an individual is brave enough to do that, no matter the outcome of the situation at hand, that person is better for it. I think that is what was facing these two individuals.

I really liked Sammy--the candor of children is really hard to beat. Unless they have been horribly damaged psychologically early on in their lives or traumatized by some terrible event, they pretty much tell it like it is. Nick had done a great job of protecting Sammy in spite of the grieving they both endured. Sammy's welfare always played an important part in Nick's decision-making, but throughout the story, this little boy seemed to bring a sense of caring and real affection to the mix.

This is not erotic romance, but there is a beautiful love story here. It is one of those kinds of really good books that gives me a sense that I was glad I read it. It was worth the time and effort. As much as most of us enjoy erotica, there is always a place for a really beautiful love story that examines the people, their situation, what makes their relationship go forward and what keeps them hanging from time to time.

I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5.

This review was originally posted on Book Binge by Judith.
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