Arabesque, $6.99, ISBN 1-58314-412-9
Contemporary Romance, 2004
A Love of Their Own features one of those themes that readers will either love or hate: a heroine marrying her mentor’s husband for the sake of the children after this mentor’s deaths, and falling in love with the mentor in the process. Unfortunately, the story is oozing pure saccharine sap from every word. Even if the author manages to make the heroine come off as halfway normal – which she doesn’t – the story still makes me cringe because of its excessive sentimentalism.
Amara Fairchild is only twenty-two, but she’s the kind of woman that lives only to make people happy. In this, when her mentor croaks after telling her to make this mentor’s hubby Ross Hayward and the triplets Trina, Trinity, and Trinette (oh my god) happy. And our heroine, who doesn’t have any needs of her own, apparently, is more than happy to waltz right into the Hayward home and la-la-la everyone back to being happy and sweet again. She is rather unnaturally selfless and maternal especially for a twenty-two year old woman (readers mindful of age gaps between main characters best tread carefully here) and comes off like a giant Care Bear rolling down some hills while singing songs from The Sound of Music. Ross could have been an appealing hero whose love is always offered freely if he doesn’t feel like a one-dimensional complement to Amara. As for the ghastly sweet porcelain china doll triplets, they are guaranteed to smite anybody with a low threshold for sentimental moments into sugar shock.
The writing drips with maudlin and over-sentimental prose reminiscent of sappier Reader’s Digest stories. “Fate”, “destiny”, “out of the ashes of her death rose their love”, and other similarly drippy phraseology are in abundance here. A Love of Their Own is a story where the implausibly sentimental characters reenact a plot that is more manipulative and dysfunctional than anything else. Personally, I find this book way too sweet and the premise too much of a manipulative contrivance to view the story as anything but an artificial tearjerker. I’m quite cynical that way.