Elissa Ambrose again returns to Millwood, Connecticut for her story and unlike her two previous Special Editions, she leaves the sentimentality at the door, and the story is the better for it.
Rebecca Roth is a good Jewish daughter. She grew up and got married to a good Jewish boy. Sadly for her, this boy used her while he worked his way through medical school, and then decided he loved another. They divorced and she returned home to her mother, father and grandmother. Her mother, like many stereotypical Jewish mothers, wants her to be happy and keeps throwing this lack of wedded bliss in her face. To make matters worse, Becky doesnít know what she wants to do with her life. She has flitted from job to job and all she really knows is that she loves to cook. The day her divorce becomes final just happens to be the day her brother is marrying his long-time girlfriend. She decides to tie one on and ends up going home with her brotherís best friend. Three months later, she finds herself pregnant.
Carter Prescott III is from a traditional Anglo-Saxon, blue-blooded, All-American rich family. This never kept him from his friendship with David Roth, nor from having a crush on Davidís little sister when they were growing up. But upon graduation from college with an architectural degree, Carter married another blue-blood. The marriage ended when the new Mrs. decided she wanted more and Carter didnít. Of course, having an abortion of the baby Carter wanted didnít help matters. Since the divorce, Carter has dedicated himself to his career, traveling to job sites and hoping for a partnership. Now he just has to complete a job in New Zealand and the partnership is his.
Becky finds work at a bed and breakfast, cooking. The pay isnít much, but it includes room and board. The landlord is a throwback to the 60ís with her freedom of spirit and a belief in tarot cards and the zodiac. She is also a warm, caring person who takes Becky under her wing and helps her find the person hidden inside. Becky decides she never wants to hide herself to be what another person wants her to be, like she did in her first marriage. She is determined to have and raise the baby on her own.
Carter discovers she is pregnant from Beckyís brother. David guesses the truth about Carterís role and gives him a black eye. Becky tries to give him the brush off, but they both realize they have to figure out Carterís role in the babyís life. The rest of the story revolves around the age old question Ė will she marry Carter or not?
There are obstacles that must be crossed, such as Carterís job requiring travel, Beckyís need for independence, Carterís mother wanting him to remarry his first wife and Beckyís mother wanting her to marry her ex-husband again. Carter and Becky struggle with how they feel about everything. The ďboth worldsĒ of the title include religious differences and socioeconomic disparity as well as career paths colliding. Add in the complications of high blood pressure and a high-risk pregnancy, and you have the makings of a good story.
Becky and Carter slowly realize they love each other, and it is a love growing out of their interactions. While there is attraction (after all, she is pregnant!), the relationship is what helps this story to maintain its engaging nature.
ďHard-headedĒ describes both characters, and consequently there are some silly arguments. But overall, they participate in discussions and concerns that seem true to life. Both have revelations that they think seal the deal, only to discover that the other came to the exact opposite conclusion. Humor is interwoven into the story and this makes it even more enjoyable.
Ambrose in her two previous stories has succumbed to the need to be heart-wrenching. She resists this time, and the story is the richer for it. There are some emotional moments, but they maintain sensibility while being poignant. An example of this is the reaction of both parents when they see their new child for the first time.
Pick up The Best of Both Worlds and enjoy two people finding a way to make it all work out.