After a turbulent marriage to a man who walked off hand-in-offshoot with something resembling a twig, divorced mum, Donna O’Conner, doubts happy endings exist. She’d quite like to find herself an Adonis with… pecs …and things. Alas, that’s not likely, when her only interest outside of work is hopping her three-legged dog in the park, carrying a poop-scoop. In any case, Donna isn’t sure she’d know what to do with an Adonis if she fell on one. When PC Mark Evans comes along, gloriously gift-wrapped in blue, however, she can’t help wishing she did. Mark, a single father, is desperate for love. He doesn’t hold out much hope, though, that there is a woman out there with a heart big enough to love him and his autistic son. Enter big-hearted Donna, plus three-legged dog. And now Mark has a dilemma. Pretending not to mind her house-bunny chewing his bootlaces, he’s smitten with Donna on sight. Should he tell her his situation up-front? Announcing he has a child with autism spectrum disorder on a first date tends to ensure there isn’t a second. Or should he skirt around the subject, which amounts to a lie? When one lie leads to another, can he ever win Donna’s trust back? Admit that he didn’t trust Donna enough to let her into his life? Somebody to Love has been made with love… love of animals. Sheryl Browne has done excellent research on assistance dogs for the handicapped, specifically their use with autistic individuals. With a focus on romance with police officers, appealing to all readers who love our boys in blue, the author’s “teasing but not telling” style makes this read appropriate for anyone, including young adults and older teens.
Note: The publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
My Review: I love romance novels, so I was eager to read this book. I expected a nice, light-hearted story and was not disappointed. What I did not expect was a story of such substance and beauty. This story came as a wonderful surprise and I’ve been recommending it to friends, romance and non-romance lovers alike.
As an animal lover, I appreciate the important role animals play in this book. Donna’s relationship with her dog (Sade) and bunny (Findus) created an immediate bond between me and the main character. Anyone who cherishes their animal companions the way Donna does is a friend of mine. As a parent, I was immediately drawn in by the relationships, not just between Mark and his son, Karl, or between Donna and her teenage son, but also the relationships with the older generations. By the third chapter, I felt like I’d known all these characters (including the secondary ones) all my life and was fully invested in them.
I was fascinated by Karl’s journey and so touched by his relationship with his assistance dog. Karl’s autism with sensitivity and it was obvious the author did a fair amount of research before crafting her novel. There were many times during this novel, I was brought to tears. I absolutely fell in love with Karl.
As Karl undergoes a tremendous amount of growth, so does Mark and Donna. And, this growth does not come easily. Both Karl and Donna struggle with trust issues, and a series of misunderstandings put a strain on their emerging relationship. Despite arguments and disappointments between them, true strength of character emerges, and both Donna and Mark display kindness and compassion in spite of their differences. (I wish I could say more about this, but then I’d spoil the story line for those who haven’t read this yet.)
Overall, this was an excellent novel, one I would recommend to everyone. Believe me, you don’t have to be a romance reader to appreciate this book. If I could award this book more than five stars, I would surely do so.
To learn more about Sheryl Browne’s work, please visit her website.