I ended up giving this five stars because there was such a WOW factor on the reveal at the end. I did a complete 180 on Alex. He was giving me a serious a-hole factor for a lot of this book, and by the end, I really 'got' him, and I just wanted to hug him.
I guess because I am getting older, I am less enchanted (if I ever was) with the dewy, very young heroine. I started out sort of rolling my eyes (in a "Yes, I'm a fan of this author although I'm not feeling this plot element" fashion) at Kerry being eighteen when she married Alex, and becoming a mother. However, I think this was so much a part of their love story, it worked. Kerry and Alex were meant to be, and they would have stayed together, and worked through their issues, if it wasn't for what Kerry's sister did. I mean that was so wrong!!! She really ruined two (and almost three) lives. I don't know how she could have borne the guilt of that for four long years! I think I would have gone crazy, although I would hope I wouldn't do anything that lousy.
This is one of the books where I thought the hero was a b*stard, but when I found out what his issues were, I totally understood his crazy reaction to what he dumped Kerry for. It made sense, considering his history, and Alex turned out to be pretty darn tortured. Kerry is a suitably tormented companion for him. She was a feisty woman by nature, but she assumed guilt for something that wasn't her fault and it killed her spirit for four long years. When she finds out that she wasn't guilty, her normal spirit returns, and she gives Alex a run for his money.
This book touches on the destructive aspects of male jealousy. I admit I like a jealous hero, but I could see that Alex's jealousy was extremely unhealthy, and it made him impossible to be married to. It was sweet how Alex really tried hard to be a good husband to Kerry once he realized how scared Kerry was of his jealousy. It was sweet that he bought her a shop to continue her antiques business he made her give up when he blackmailed her back into marriage. I do have to say that Lynne Graham does a good job of showing that Alex is crazy about Kerry, although Kerry doesn't see it that way. She thinks he just wants to punish her, and to use her as a wife and mother to his son.
I loved how Alex's mom comes and talks to Kerry after he leaves when he realizes how wrong he was about Kerry. This is one of the best reveals I think I've read in the Harlequin Presents books. It makes you see a jerky hero in a really new light, and that's a good thing. In this case, it was totally right for Kerry to go to Alex, and those final scenes brought a smile to my face. (view spoiler)[ And she even resolved the one aspect that was a bummer for me. I hate the unfairness of the heroine staying celibate while the couple is apart, but the hero having affairs. In this case, Alex just couldn't. He dated, but he couldn't have sex with them. He was still too in love with his wife. Big sigh! (hide spoiler)]
I've been reading Lynne Graham for a long time, and I am a big fan of hers. This book showcases her unique style and why she has such a large Harlequin Presents following, and myself. Definitely a new fave of mine by this author, and it deserves the five stars I gave it when I finished reading it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>