by Natasha Moore, contemporary (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 1-59998-613-2
In The Ride Of Her Life, Sarah Austin has always been a responsible person. She drives a sensible car, works at the bank, and is generally pleasant and agreeable to the point that she probably begins to bore herself silly. However, her recent trips to the doctor cause her to realize that she has let life past her by and if she doesn't go on that crazy adventure she has secretly dreamed of all this while, she may not have much opportunity to do so in the future.
Oh don't worry, this story doesn't end with a funeral. I'm not going to reveal the disease Sarah has but I have to say, while there is a happy ending here, it is one that is touched by some bittersweet kind of realism as the disease doesn't magically go away.
Sarah decides that the best adventure she can have will be to get away from it all with Dean Bastian, the bad boy/black sheep who comes with earrings and a Harley. He used to be a wild guy in his teenage years and Sarah is hoping that the grown-up Dean is still as wild. What she doesn't know, however, is that Dean has mellowed down considerably. He is, in fact, a troubled teen counselor. Sarah will probably scream if she realizes that he wants to settle down and have a family.
As these go on their road trip, they are going to fall in love. Sarah, however, understandably does not want to become a burden to Dean so she feels that she should break up with him before he falls too deeply for her.
This one could easily be a saccharine Hallmark kind of story with its disease-of-the-week and the-heart-is-triumphant themes but fortunately Ms Moore instead gives me a most unexpected kind of fun read here. It's a fun read that is also a little bittersweet, of course. Sarah's determination to experience the wilder side of life is pretty realistically depicted. At least, I can relate to her in this story. Likewise, Dean is a likable guy who is determined to go all out for the woman he loves. Their fun times resonate with credible emotional bonding while the more emotionally charged scenes have me going "Awww!" here and there.
The Ride Of Her Life has a nice balance of heartfelt moments and scenes of careless exuberance of falling love. I'm actually quite sorry to see it end so soon.
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