A Husband of her Own, by Brenda Novak

>> Sunday, February 15, 2004

I've just finished A Husband of her Own, by new-to-me author Brenda Novak.

Thirty-two-year-old Rebecca Wells is desperately trying to overcome her reputation for being high-strung and unpredictable. She wants to marry and settle down, start over with a clean slate and--deep down--hopes to finally gain the approval of her father.

As a token of her good will, her father thinks now is the perfect time for her and Josh Hill, the boy who grew up across the street, to put an end to their twenty-four-year rivalry and become friends. Only she and Josh have quite a past, and Rebecca doesn't want to let go of her resentment because, as much as she refuses to admit or acknowledge it, she feels more for him than she's ever let on--

And the guy she's always loved to hate is the one guy she'd most hate to love.
The only reason I didn't like this book better was because in a way, it accomplished what it was trying to much too well. A B-.

What do I mean by that? Well, Rebecca was really horribly treated by everyone in town. Everyone spoke derisively to her, including her family, and she was blamed for everything that went wrong. Meanwhile, Josh, who over the years had done just as much to her as she'd done to him, got a free pass and everyone adored him, including Rebecca's family. I assume the author intended the reader to feel angry on her behalf and to resent the unfairness of it all.

And that's why I say she succeeded too well. I was extremely angry, so angry that I ended up getting upset with Rebecca for being such a wimp and continuing to stay in that horrible town, with all those horrible people. I was also angry at her for being such a weakling that the only way she could find to leave the town was to have a man, her fiancé, Buddy, take her away. I wanted her to follow her friend Booker's advice and tell everyone to go to hell, not to go on trying to change in order to get her family to love her. I'm sorry, but that's not a cop-out, as far as I'm concerned. It's just realizing that the opinion of these horrendous, disgusting people isn't worth shit.

Argh, and the worst part is that in the end, she becomes exactly what they've been wanting her to become, by bringing in her dad's beloved Josh into the family. And as for Josh, I really resented the fact that he never once stands up for her and tells off the people who bad-mouth her all the time. I wanted at least one scene where he defended her against her family, but it wasn't to be.

The romance itself I guess was nice, though I would have liked to actually see the love scenes. I never appreciate having the door bang in my face unexpectedly.

Oh, and I didn't appreciate how the next book was advertised throughout this one, how countless little details were worked in to get us interested enough to buy it.

Why a B-, if so many things bothered me? Well, basically because I wasn't at all indifferent to what was happening. I read almost the whole thing with a lump in my throat, and I cared. So, in a way, as I said, the author succeeded with me.

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