It’s hard to pull off a romance in which a couple have a fight, separate for years and then find themselves getting back together when one finally asks for a divorce: they’re usually too implausible, too sad, or both. This is one of the good ones -- in fact, in basic plot outline it’s quite similar to Private Arrangements
, the all time great of this trope.
Rose and James fell in love in college, a relationship cunningly brought about by Rose’s friends as a joke. But it was no joking matter when James found out the truth shortly after they got married. Ten years later, Rose discovers that divorce after such a long separation is pretty simple and decides it’s time to make it official -- causing James to reappear in her life and old feelings to reemerge for them both.
George crafts the story to be believable. They’re young, their marriage is very quick, they never even had a chance to live together -- it’s understandable that a betrayal could cause a serious rift. And though both had yearned for reconciliation, when it appeared impossible they had each tried to move on with other partners and make new lives. There’s a twinge of sadness over what might have been, and a bigger twinge of heartbreak when they attempt to resurrect their relationship, but just enough for angsty goodness.
I might have given this a higher grade, but I was bothered by some “huh?” moments during their courtship. And a minor but persistent annoyance: why does his last name have to be mentioned all the time
? He’s almost never just James, he’s “James Sinclair.” Pronounced weird, which makes it even more jarring. Othewise, kudos for a Harlequin Presents that’s realistic yet still romantic and passionate.