For a Harlequin American romance, this is really top of the line, I have to say that Anne Stuart delivers, no matter what the genre or expectations!
I have to say that while this is only the third book that I have read by Anne Stuart, this book is so good that I am tempted to say - this is the best! But I know that they are all the best... The only thing stopping me from reading all her novels at once is simply a time crunch - I know that in order to start an Anne Stuart book I am going to have to block out at least three, four hours straight - because once I start this author, it's simply impossible to put it down, impossible to even realize that I do have a *real life*, and my life is so busy that I simply don't have that kind of time block at once.
I was wondering how Ms. Stuart was going to handle this romance - I have read that she writes "bad boy" stories, but so far this story was the most "bad boy" that I have read yet - a hero who is a gangster? Hard for me to swallow, yet Ms. Stuart does this so well, that the romance in this book far surpassed any romance that I have read in a long, long time... Anne Stuart always delivers whatever is expected, and if Harlequin American readers expect a warm fuzzy romance than that is what she delivers ... with a bang.
Katharine is a girl with the perfect job, the perfect features, the perfect perfectionist - who is engaged to the perfect man, and if all this is a little boring - well, that's exactly the way she wants it. Her heart was broken once before, ten years ago, and she never wants to go through that experience again - and if a little lack of excitement is the price to pay, so be it. Except that the man she once thought dead is suddenly very much alive ... and he seems to have totally forgotten her existence. Suddenly, Katharine's heretofore drab but predictable life is turned upside down, and she suddenly realizes that while she doesn't like the twist her life just took, it's also impossible to go back, to the way she was before all this happened. She can't anymore turn back into predictable, punctual, hard-working, boring Katharine.
This storyline is done extremely believably, (it has to be believable, Anne Stuart is the most believable author I have ever read). When we are given the explanation as to why he has forgotten her - it makes sense to me. When we are shown the depth of her feelings, this makes sense to me as well. But most of all, this is a story of ups and downs, of strong emotions and passions, for better or for worse, acknowledged or not, and especially this is a story of impossible love - with the impossible turning into something that might be possible after all... And through it all, the characters remain true to themselves, they never do anything that makes you dislike either of them (the way so many other stories do) - so that you are rooting for both of them (maybe that's why her stories work so well).
One more thing - Anne Stuart writes happy endings! I just love the way she ties up all the strings in her stories to make you feel so warm and fuzzy - she's just a brilliant writer, period!