The Love Song

Anita Higman and Janice Thompson
2007, Inspirational Romance
Heartsong Presents, $4.95, 170 pages, Amazon ASIN 1234567789

Grade: B-
Sensuality: Kisses

As a newcomer to the romance's inspirational sub-genre, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I picked up The Love Song. What I found was a sweet story with good characters, but some imperfections in the writing.

Clair O’Neal had a neglected childhood, with no friends, or affection from her father. Now, as a 31-year-old woman, she is shy, lacks confidence, and feels uncomfortable with people. But one night things change. On the verge of leaving a book party before it begins, Glenn Yves, an image coach, sees something in her and persuades her to stay. Later, Clair is rescued by musician Hudson Mandel when she slips and falls in front of everyone.

Glenn promises to take her under his wing as another man did with him. He helps build her confidence, refine her image, and see herself as the world sees her. Hudson, meanwhile, a bit awkward and shy himself, sees in Clair a wonderful soul and kindred spirit. Ignored for years, Clair is now being pursued by two handsome, caring men - and must choose between them.

The ending of this book is not particularly surprising; readers will, in all likelihood, know which man Clair will choose. However, one thing that I really liked about the conflict is that this wasn’t obvious because of the characters, but rather due to the writing. Both are good men and there’s no betrayal, no secrets that devastate and destroy in the end as writers are wont to do to clearly separate the hero from the other guy. The “other guy” here deserves to be rooted for, too, and I hope the authors follow up with his story.

Clair was understandable and relatable to me, but I’ve read other similar characters that failed to get my sympathy. I suppose it depends on the person reading the book, but I did like Clair. This was a short story - less than 200 pages - so the character development is limited, but not significantly. Another drawback of the length, though, is that the plot moved too quickly and is jumpy at times. The chapter breaks were also awkward, not so much in the ending of one chapter but the beginning of a new one, which jarred me with every one.

Faith played a large role in the lives of the characters. I’m new to inspirational romance, but I found the Bible passages and praying very fitting with the characters. However, one thing that didn’t seem to quite fit was the open and unapologetic use of the Lord in a business proposition, or between strangers. Perhaps business - and life – are done differently in Arkansas than where I’m from, but I couldn’t possibly imagine anyone, especially a stranger, telling me that “The good Lord and I have an offer for you” when discussing a business deal.

Overall, this is a good book. The characters were good people without being perfect, but some flaws in the execution of this story diminished its appeal.

-- Jane Granville

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