by Sara Dennis, contemporary (2006)
Cobblestone Press, $6.99, ISBN 1-60088-005-3
Sara Dennis' Fortune's Fool is a straightforward contemporary romance, which is a departure of sorts from the author's usual paranormal romances. Nonetheless, this is a most pleasant story with some hard-hitting moments of drama.
Valerie Turturro is a widow and single mother to a boy named Kyle. Her late husband Clyde was a cop and she keeps his gun (unloaded, of course) as something to remember him by. However, while she keeps the gun hidden, her son must have found it as well as the ammo box on his own because while she's not watching, he and his buddy use the gun as some kind of toy and oops, you can guess what happens. As Valerie speeds down the road to get Kyle to the hospital, our cop hero Dylan Graves ends up trying to stop this crazy car reported to be speeding like nobody's business and that is how our two main characters meet for the first time. Dylan has his own issues that make him hesitant to be involved in a relationship again.
What I really like about Fortune's Fool is that Ms Dennis allows the characters to grow close and form a bond via a progression of emotions that feels real and natural. I find a matchmaking secondary character a little too obvious and her actions in this story could have been a little more subtle, perhaps, because her presence often comes too as a too-obvious self-insertion on the author's part to bring her characters closer together. Nonetheless, even with this character's machinations, the relationship between Valerie and Dylan feel credible and solid. While Dylan could have a stereotypical cop hero in a different book, here he comes off as a pretty real, sympathetic, and likable hero. Likewise, Valerie comes off as a real and intelligent character. The characters and the emotions they experience feel real.
Fortune's Fool is at its heart a story of a emotionally-wounded cop healing and finding love with a good woman that comes with a ready-made family. This is a storyline that has been done many times before. Nonetheless, Ms Dennis manages to make this story all hers. I have a great time meeting Valerie and Dylan and following their relationship. I'll be very interested to see what this author has up her sleeves in the future.
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