on 21 July 2012
Former model now fashion designer, Blair, is in remission from breast cancer and is trying to rebuild her life. However, having lost a breast and all her hair, it is proving hard to convince those around her, especially the aunt who raised her, that she is up to even simple tasks. So she's giving herself a month with her aunt to prove otherwise and gets involved in the local beauty pageant that launched her career years ago.
Nick, father of an awkward teenager, does not want his daughter anywhere near the beauty pageant, given his model ex-wife destroyed herself in the excess of the fashion world. In his anger, he is the first person who doesn't handle Blair with kid gloves and the two spark a connection. However, Blair's former partner rejected and humiliated her when he'd seen her after her mastectomy, so she's not willing to share her cancer-ravaged body again. She can't even face it herself.
Obviously the main focus of this book is the romance between the two characters, which is progressed in a realistic and fresh way, pushing both characters to develop and grow and come together. However, I felt this book was also a sensitive study of how breast cancer can have not only long-term physical effects, but psychological effects too. We get a sense of how much Blair has already changed due to the cancer, but the book portrays her as neither victim nor all-conquering; a woman still vulnerable, but determined. Watching this character come to terms with her condition in a heartfelt way is a highlight of the book and I would recommend it to romance readers who want to feel the real conflict such circumstances bring to a woman.
The storyline was quite good but the heroine kept having the same self-pitying thoughts throughout the book and it was hard to feel sympathetic towards her - you felt like giving her a good kick and telling her to be glad she was alive. The hero was great and you have to admire his patience with the heroine. Naturally, being a Mills and Boon Book, there is a happy ending. I thought it was a little laboured here and there with a fair bit of padding but it whiled away a spare moment or two and was better than some others I have read.