Friday, July 29, 2011

Hired By Her Husband

Hired by Her Husband (Harlequin Presents)Author: Anne McAllister
ISBN: 978-0-373-12974-4
Publisher: Harlequin
Purcahse Link: Hired by Her Husband
Source: Reviewed for The Season for Romance

Two words, that’s all it took to temporarily stop Sophy’s heart, making her regret her haste in picking up the phone.  When the unfamiliar voice asks for Mrs. Savas Sophy’s heart drops, she hasn’t been called by her married name for years.  Why should she?  The marriage, if you can call it that, ended four years ago, though technically she never did sign papers.  At the other end of the line the caller introduces himself as Dr. Harlowe and continues to tell Sophy there has been an accident.  Confused, Sophy discovers she is still listed as George’s only emergency contact and that she is needed to sign medical releases in order for him to receive the treatment he desperately needs.  Her heart drops, her carefully constructed walls start crumbling around her.  She can’t refuse, George needs the treatment and she owes him.  After all, he saved her once too.

So begins the tale of how Sophy is brought back into her husband’s world.  Once she arrives in NYC, George discovers her day job and hires her to be his wife.  Sophy fears she might never leave NYC, or is it hope?  Does true love ever really die?   For the sake of her daughter Sophy eventually opens her heart again; uncertain if the risk will be worth it.  “Hired By Her Husband” tells the tale of returning love, misunderstandings, passion and heartache.

The novel is carefully woven together, alternating between past memories and present events.  While I enjoyed the story, which the author seemingly pens with ease, I felt it was a tad slow at points.  It took awhile to uncover the real history behind the two main characters, leaving their insecurities and miscommunications floating around as the only hit to the reader.  Aside from this minor annoyance, I found the story itself original and interesting.  

Though I wanted to see these two lovers together, I didn’t feel an attachment to either of them.  George seemed confident and in control of almost everything except his words to Sophy. From the beginning he is in more pain due to his heart’s desire rather than his recent accident, which says a lot about his feelings considering he was hit by a vehicle.

[Excerpt from George]
George sucked in a breath.
For the first time in nearly four years he and Sophy –his wife- were face-to-face.

Wife? Ha.

They might have stood side by side in a New York City Judge’s office and repeated after him.  They might have a legally binding document declaring them married.  But it had never meant anything more than a piece of paper.

Not to her.

Not to either of them, George told himself firmly, though the pain he felt was suddenly different than before.  He resisted it.  Didn’t want to care.  Sure as hell didn’t want to feel!

The last thing he needed now was to have to deal with Sophy.

I wanted him to take make a move, let her know he wanted her, loves her and would do anything for her, rather than acting as if he doesn’t care, hasn’t cared.  Likewise, Sophy was still in love yet hooked on a conversation she didn’t know the complete truth about.  While I understand the essence of this plot as needed for the storyline, she came off a little too whiny for me.  Her character constantly focuses on the fact that their marriage has never been “real”, though it actually was very real for both.

[Excerpt from Sophy]
She got her laptop from the bedroom on the second floor and brought it back down to the living room.  That way she could work and keep an eye on George at the same time.  That was the theory, at least.
In fact she spent far more time watching George.  His body had barely moved but, as he slept, his face relaxed.  He looked younger now, the bandage on his head gone, his dark hair drifting across his forehead, his cheeks still smooth from the morning shave, his lips no longer pressed tight with pain, softer now and slightly parted.

He looked the way he had when she first met him.  Not a good thing because it stirred up all shoe same feelings--feelings that had been as wrong then as they are now…..

Yes, she was still his wife by name—but only in name.  There was no point in pretending anything else.  Their marriage had never been real—and there was no point in sitting here staring at him now and wishing for the thousandth time that it was.

The combination of these left me thinking “Okay, we’ll see if they make it” rather than “How wonderful, true love will last forever!”

Overall the novel is a satisfying and quick read.  I definitely enjoyed the time spent reading it.  Based on this novel I would read other titles by Anne McAllister.  If you enjoy Debbie Macomber you will most likely enjoy this slightly spicier version of writing that proves simple love stories never go out of style.

Heat Level: 2

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