Christine's Reviews > Sarah's Child

Sarah's Child by Linda Howard
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's review
Aug 15, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: romance

Sarah's been in love with Rome Matthews for over a decade. There was just one problem: He married her best friend. For all those years she pretended to be the ice queen, never showing the feelings that would betray her friend. Then Rome's wife and two sons die in a tragic accident, and Rome dies inside. Two years later, he begins to accept love again, with Sarah.

There were a few things to like about this book. Rome's grief was real and powerful, and it stayed with him throughout the book. He never fell out of love with his first wife, which often seems to happen in romance novels. (I can't tell you how UNromantic I find that. If he could so easily dismiss her, then IMO, he could so easily dismiss the new "love" in his life.) That first love does fade into memory, which is good.

The trouble with this book was Sarah. I thought she was pathetic. I know I'm supposed to buy into that "one true love" thing that romance often brings to the table, and think highly of her for holding out and waiting for the only man she could ever possibly love to become available and notice her, but..gah! His becoming available required the tragic death of her best friend, which was always in the back of my mind. Not that she wished for it, or even came close...she was the perfect little martyr the entire book...

Martyr. That's what she was. In the most annoying sense of the word. She sacrifices her whole life because the one guy she thinks she can ever love is unavailable. But worse, when he starts noticing her, she continues to play the martyr, sacrificing all her dreams and desires so she can have any part of him that he might be willing to give tossing a dog the scraps from the dinner table. He won't have more children because of the grief he felt for his first sons. She always wanted children, but if he doesn't want them, then she'll be the martyr.

The book spent wayyyyy too much time in bed. If you want endless sex scenes with a lot of angst to glue them together, then definitely check this book out. But I thought it went overboard. They didn't have anything else keeping them together, and frankly, the sex scenes got boring. I started skimming through them, heavily.

I could also never let go of the idea that Sarah had known Rome before her best friend. She was his second choice. I would never want to be a man's second choice.

The title of the book led me to believe that Sarah would get pregnant early on and that this would be the heart of the conflict between them. It made sense, given what he said about not wanting children. He said it less than 24 hours after having unprotected sex, though, so I figure the main conflict is signed and sealed. It wasn't, though. She didn't get pregnant until much closer to the end of the book, by which time I was so bored with the endless sex and angst it was too little too late. The book needed the turning point much sooner.

By the time the baby conflict happened, too, I was hoping that it wouldn't be an accident. I wanted Sarah to stand up for herself, share her dreams with him (which she'd never bothered to do before because she was busy being a martyr), and have the love between them help him heal enough that he could accept another baby into his life -- not to replace the two that he'd lost, but because he had more love to offer a new one.

Rome lost my sympathy, completely and utterly, when he demanded that Sarah get an abortion, and in the way he treated her during her pregnancy. I stopped caring that he was grieving. He was selfish, taking and never giving. That Sarah let him made her weak, and that he took advantage of it made him a jerk.

I was also completely unconvinced by the ending.

Like I said, this book was not without redeeming qualities, and it may suit the romance reader looking for this kind of dynamic. Linda Howard is good at writing sex scenes, and there are a lot of them here, so if you're in the mood for some of that, you may also enjoy this.
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