You Are Loved
by Karen White-Owens, contemporary (2003)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-370-X

Well, after her... uh... erm, not-very-inspiring - yes, that's the phrase, "not very inspiring", okay, after her not-very-inspiring debut, Karen White-Owens pleasantly delights me with her follow-up, You Are Loved. It has its shares of problems, but it's an unexpectedly readable book.

At first, the heroine Lisa Daniels sounds like a Made-In-Neurotic heroine. In a way, she is: she has been dumped before, so now she will never open herself again to love, et cetera. Unfortunately, she is still working at the same software company as her ex and she sees him every day. Never mind. To release steam. she volunteers to help at the daycare facility. Alas, that morning she forgets her name-tag and gets into a minor misunderstanding with a handsome hunk. He turns out to be Matthew James, also a volunteer and also the guy who has just bought over the company Lisa works for. Sparks fly. (Now that's what I call a classic way to avoid getting laid-off.)

Matthew has his share of baggages, including a rather bizarre somewhat Odipal thing he has going with his mother. There is also a rather throwaway minor suspense plot that sees Matthew suspecting Lisa of espionage. Lisa has an annoying tendency to overreact to situations. Still, the whole story comes together very nicely despite its flaws. The characters could use a little originality, but they do click together to engage my interest. The over-the-top family dysfunctionality in this story also has a pretty charming campy and lurid feel to it.

While not exactly a great book by any means, You Are Loved suggests that this author may be moving on the right track after all.

Rating: 74

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