June 1997, Series Romance
Sil Intimate Momoments #791, $3.99, 251 pages, Amazon ASIN 0373077912
Why can't all series romances be this good? I suppose I should be grateful that they aren't, otherwise I would have to buy each and every one, every month and forgo such inconsequential things as food, clothing and shelter. Bad For Each Other is one of the best romances I have ever read and head and shoulders above any number of contemporary romances twice its length when it comes to telling an engrossing story. As for the characters - I can't praise Kate Hathaway highly enough for her handling of them. This book is so good that after I finished it, I wanted to run out, buttonhole total strangers and rave to them about how wonderful it was.
Bad For Each Other is a complex book, written in a style that uses many flashbacks to tell the story. These flashbacks are easy to follow and give the book a depth that isn't found in many full length novels, much less a series romance. The characters are fully developed, there is internal and external conflict, and the romance is hot and tender as well. What more can you ask for?
Charlie Cochrane and Molly Doyle were childhood friends and sweethearts. Molly was the only child of a well-to-do business owner, while Charlie came from a big blue-collar family. Despite the fact that they were from opposite sides of the track, Molly and Charlie were the best of friends from the day they met. Their relationship grew, and flourished despite her mother's disapproval. When Charlie had dreams of becoming a professional singer, Molly was there for him and he encouraged her in her dream of going to law school. Charlie was the one who taught Molly how to kiss. He was a popular boy at school and attracted the girls like honey attracts bees, but he chose to save himself for Molly and they were each other's first lovers. If ever there was a couple who deserved to be called soul-mates, it was Molly and Charlie.
But then they had a terrible falling out and lost track of each other. Charlie went on to become a superstar country singer-songwriter, and Molly became a paralegal. They meet one night when Molly comes to Charlie out of the blue and tells him he has a son, Tobey, who has aplastic anemia. Charlie may be the only source for a bone marrow transplant.
Bad For Each Other alternates telling Charlie and Molly's story in the present day, with flashes back to their childhood and adolescence. This technique allows us to see deeply into Charlie and Molly's characters. We know them and we know them intimately with all their strengths and flaws as well. What we know of their pasts allows us to see what went wrong with their relationship. But we know too that they do love each other deeply and have a special bond with will lead them back to each other. The love scenes which are sensual and tender, chart the course of Molly and Charlie's developing relationship from awkwardness to deep intimacy.
The one scene that had me gasping in sheer delight comes toward the end. I will not spoil it, but I will say that in the pages of 99.999% of all the series romances I have read, a scene like one I have in mind leads to a Big Misunderstanding. In this book, it leads to Self Understanding and the final letting down of the barriers between Molly and Charlie. Will someone please put that scene in a textbook entitled How To Write Good Series Romance?
Kate Hathaway has written only two series romances, His Wedding Ring, which is a wonderful book and one I highly recommend, and this one. I hope that some day soon she will write more. I have been very disappointed lately with most of the series romances I've read, but this book more than makes up for it. It is simply superb.
-- Ellen Micheletti
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