by Jill Marie Landis, contemporary (2004)
Ballantine, $6.99, ISBN 0-345-45331-X
Jill Marie Landis' first contemporary romance is paint-by-numbers "Mother On The Run" TV Movie of the Week affair. The result is a story that one can live with or without, it doesn't matter, because there will be at least ten books with a story similar to Lover's Lane one will encounter every month.
Caroline Graham was a waitress when she becomes engaged to Rick Saunders, he of the wealthy family whose parents are naturally stereotypes of old money close-minded snobbiness. When Rick dies and Rick's parents move in to seize custody of Caroline's son Christopher, Caroline decides that she has no choice but take Christopher and run. She runs to the smalltown of Twilight Cove, a predictably nice and homely town filled with people that bend over backwards to make Caroline feel at home. Now known as Carly Nolan, she settles down with Christopher to live out her own Thomas Kinkade painting.
Today, Jake Montgomery, Rick's friend, is hired by Rick's now widowed mother Anna to track down Caroline and her son. He finds Caroline easily, but as he remains in Twilight Cove to explore his attraction to Caroline, he soon discovers that he wants to be part of the big family of happy people in Twilight Cove. Awww. But how can he tell Caroline who he really is?
Utterly predictable straight down to the time and circumstances of heroine discovering who the hero is, Lover's Lane is a story that tests my ability to stay awake while reading this book. Caroline is the admirable mother who always chooses to suffer the hard way to prove how virtuous she is, Jake is the man who needs a home, a kid, and a good woman to make him whole, Christopher is the cute kid who just wants a daddy, Anna is the shrewish snob who is just plain mean, and everyone in Twilight Cove just want to hug and do the peace sign to the rest of the world.
Lover's Lane isn't a bad book by any means, by it is unfortunately so generic, so predictable, and so formulaic that there are times when I feel as if I'm eating the same old previously-delicious meal for the three hundredth time in a row and I just want to drop everything and do something else, anything else as long as it's not eating that meal one more time.
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