Monday, August 10

This Heart of Mine - Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Molly Sommerville's life is pretty good - she has a great relationship with her sister Phoebe, a small but loyal following of her children's book series, and has come to terms with her inheritance by giving away the money her manipulative father left her. The only real fly in the ointment is men. One man, to be specific - Chicago Stars quarterback Kevin Tucker. She's liked him since she was fifteen, but despite meeting her a dozen times he can't remember her, a frustration she directs into her books.
When Molly and Kevin end up at the Calebow's cabin together, Molly sneaks into Kevin's bed despite her better judgement, and the resulting accidental pregnancy turns what would have been a regrettable one night stand into something far more complicated.
In lesser hands this could easily have turned into one of the many forgettable brought-together-by-pregnancy-bound-together-by-love run-of-the-mill romances, but Phillips drives the plot as directed by the personality she infuses in her characters, creating a deeper and more rewarding experience. There are also two substantial and complementary secondary plots, one involving a newly-wed couple besotted with one another and another detailing a romance between an aging actress and a reclusive artist. There's also a minor but pivotal censorship sub-plot that I particularly liked.
The third in the Chicago Stars series, This Heart of Mine continues from Phoebe's story (It Had to be You) and Nobody's Baby But Mine (where we briefly met Kevin) but stands sturdily on its own. Not all of Phillips' novels are great, but most of them are perfect for an indulgent and reliable read when one is in need of comfort - after, for example, falling over and breaking a couple of hand bones. - Alex

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