A Bittersweet Love
by Janice Sims, contemporary (2000)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-084-0


A Bittersweet Love is a far more conventional romance in technique compared to the author's last book For Keeps. It also has a far more interesting romance.

Teddy Riley meets fabulous author Joachim West on a ferry to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland. She's in luck - she is looking for this man in hope for an interview. Teddy is trying to start a career in a fancy magazine, especially when her ex is going to drag her and her kid into a long custody battle. She needs whatever leverage she can get, such as a good career.

Joachim is attracted to her at first sight, but he has lost a beloved wife before. He couldn't bear a second round, could he? But hey, he won't get away that easily. When Terry is mugged and injured, he lets her recuperate in his place. Everyone assumes that he and she are married, and both are quite happy to play pretend.

Joachim and Teddy are nice people. I admit I can do without the sometimes gratuitous-seeming use of superlatives when it comes to Joachim - best award-winning author (National Book Award, people!) whose books everyone seems to love - it really gets boring, you know, but thankfully, it isn't that bad. When these two aren't raising the temperatures of North Ireland, they are having some nice quiet moments.

A Bittersweet Love is therefore a nice, pleasant read. Sure, it could use some spice - sometimes Teddy's commitment-shy nature can drag the story, especially when it makes no sense (he is, in a sense, Perfect). I'd love it more if Teddy loosens up earlier and Joachim is less of a perfect man, but hey, this story is fine enough as it is.

Rating: 82


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