By day, I'm a domestic violence prosecutor. By night, I read romance to restore my faith in love, relationships, and humanity in general.
This won a 2012 RITA Award for Best Contemporary Single Title Romance. I thought it was good, but not earth-shatteringly good. Plot Summary: Matilda (Tildy), still grieving the loss of her beloved Nana, comes from Australia to Wisconsin to meet her online fiance, Barry. Surprising no one but Tildy, Barry is a conman and, having emptied their joint account, he is long gone by the time Tildy arrives to find herself jilted, penniless, and alone in a strange (and cold) new land. Marc is a hotshot architect from NYC who returns to his hometown once a year, for a few days at Thanksgiving, to visit his family out of a sense of obligation rather than devotion. This year, though, his visit gets extended by his sister Lori's revelation that she has breast cancer, is about to undergo a double mastectomy, and needs Marc's help to watch her teenager while she recovers. Marc's philosophy is why-do-anything-when-I-can-pay-someone-else-to-do-it, and so he shortly hires Tildy as a housekeeper/nurse.
If you think Marc sounds like a bit of an ass, you're right. As romance heroes go, he didn't ring my bell at all. But, Tildy's plucky and funny and smart (despite the book's premise, which might trick the unsuspecting reader into thinking she's Too Stupid To Live), and I love that she doesn't sit around feeling sorry for herself when jilted by Barry, and she doesn't take Marc's sh*t, either.
The best part of this book, though, is the secondary romance between Marc's sister Lori and the town's policeman, Brian. They are much more sympathetic characters, and their romance is a lot more interesting and compelling than that of Tildy and Marc, and I wished they'd been the main focus of the story rather than a subplot that occurs mostly off-page. Lori's emotional journey from cancer diagnosis through surgery and the beginnings of recovery was so much more heartrending than Tildy's stranger-in-a-strange-land/pull-oneself-up-by-ones-bootstraps story, and Brian is so much more likeable and romantic a hero than stuffy old Marc. Ah well.