Worth Fighting For

Molly O'Keefe
August 2008, Series Romance
Harl Superromance #1510, $5.50, 246 pages, Amazon ASIN 0373715102
Part of a series

Grade: C
Sensuality: Warm

As someone new to Molly O'Keefe's Mitchells of Riverview Inn series, I had problems with this as a stand-alone.

Jonah Closky's mother left his father and younger brothers while she was pregnant with Jonah. Now, 30 years later, she is developing a relationship with the two brothers and the father (apparently featured in earlier books) and wants Jonah to meet them. He is reluctant, but finally agrees for his mother's sake.

The day before Jonah leaves, a story breaks about his development company that labels Jonah the "dirty developer" due to environmental hazards on one of his properties. This taints his initial meeting with his brothers and with Daphne Larson, a friend of the family.

Daphne is a single mother and organic farmer. She's immediately attracted to Jonah or at least her libido is. However, the first words out of her mouth when she meets him are "dirty developer." Things do improve from there, but there is a strong tension between the supposed anti-environmentalist and the organic farmer.

I like to think of myself as environmentally conscious, but the start of the book - a conversation between Jonah and his partner regarding the environmental hazard - didn't work for me. This is in part a reflection of my own personal bias against politics in romances and, to be honest, if I hadn't been reading the book for review, I would have either put it down or skipped ahead a few chapters.

Early on I felt a bit like Jonah, thrown into a large group of people with complicated relationships and feelings I knew nothing about. A bit more back story, or a few less characters, would have helped. Additionally, for a short book, there were too many subplots that took away from Daphne and Jonah's romance. Any one of them fully fleshed out could have been interesting, but together they were too much.

Despite these problems, I came to like both Daphne and Jonah. I especially appreciated some of the smaller touches used to illustrate their characters, including Jonah's asthma. I also liked the fact that most of the characters were complex, neither good nor bad, but varying shades of grey. As a long-time fan of girl sleuths, I also enjoyed the touch of the little girls - Daphne's daughter and her friend - spying on Jonah.

Worth Fighting For might have worked better if I'd read the rest of the series. However, nearly one week after finishing, Daphne and Jonah are still vivid to me. I just would have liked more of them.

-- LinnieGayl Kimmel

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