To Love Again
by Alice Wootson, contemporary (2002)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-372-6

Cindy Larson pops down to her doctor hubby's office one day and finds him playing doctor with the nurse. She files for divorce, gets the house, gets the money, and moves on with her life. She is too good for him, she tells me. I like her.

Dr Marcus Thornton comes home early one day, the phone rings, he picks up the phone the same time as his wife does in another room, and overhears his wife plotting a rendezvous of the wrong kind with his best friend. Bye bye wife.

When they meet while she is trying to retrieve her keys she accidentally tosses into a dumpster, it's rebound love time. Or is it? The same old complications ensue.

Now, don't get me wrong: I like this idea of a woman moving on with her life after divorcing her husband and after taking him to the cleaners. Cindy is not poverty-stricken, she is not homeless, and she gets alimony from her husband. But at the same time, the author cripples Cindy's brainpower by making her tar not just men, but all doctors with the same brush. I understand not wanting anything to do with men after a painful divorce, but assuming all doctors are whacked and evil and lying scums is really stretching it.

There is really no reason why these two can't get together and go on a few dates to know each other better and move past the rebound phase into something more substantial and intimate. Instead, the author chooses to shove the usual matchmaking old ladies thing and the contrived little misunderstandings thing and the "Back off, ho! He's mine!" Mariah/J-Lo sniping thing.

(Off topic, but I still like Hildy's Gay Conspiracy Theory that she got off some blind item list. See, it's like this: Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are purportedly lovers until their cover is close to being blown. That's when B-Arf and J-Lo hook up while Mutt Damon hooks up with B-Arf's personal assistant - how convenient. Barf and Mutt - star-crossed lovers of the century! It's all lies, of course. Don't shoot the messenger, lawyers.)

There's a pointless separation that spans a few chapters towards the end, and I think the author wants these chapters to be Cindy's soul searching moments. But it's hard for me to emphatize when the very reasons that catalyze the soul searching are juvenile misunderstandings that could have been solved if these two would just grow up a little.

This story starts out with a strong heroine, but the heroine and the hero have mutated into childish bizarros with lousy communication techniques by the last page. I believe it's not a matter of Alice Wootson's lousy storytelling style as much as her overreliance on standard clichés to carry the story. Or ruin the story, as such in this case. Oh well.

Rating: 62

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