Little Girl Lost

Marriage by Necessity
by Marisa Carroll
(Harl. Super #1306, $5.50, G) ISBN 0373-71306-1
Marriage by Necessity has “tearjerker” written all over it. Just reading the back cover, one knows. Sarah, Nate’s ex-wife, is on his doorstep with a child and is declaring she has a life-threatening illness and needs an operation. Her husband is dead and she wants Nate to marry her again. Surprisingly, the author does spring a few tears, but the overall tale is a little better than the set-up.

Sarah Taylor was married to Nate Fowler for a few years when they were both young. Nate was an explosives expert and was to be shipped off to Afghanistan when they realized their marriage was not going to work. Sarah desperately wanted children and Nate kept putting it off. This strained their marriage to the point of self-destruction.

Sarah came from a background of foster homes and wanted a real home with a husband and family. After she left Nate, she married David Taylor. She got pregnant and had Matt. He is the love of her life, especially after David was killed in a motorcycle accident before he was born. Now three years later, her life is in the balance and she needs Nate.

Nate recovered from the heartache of the divorce and from a career-ending injury. He has settled in Cottonwood Lake, his hometown. He has a business restoring motorcycles and he is refurbishing an old barn into a home. The last thing he expects his Sarah. He is dating someone, although it is not serious in his mind. Sarah reports to him that she has a growth wrapping itself around her spine. The doctors must operate ASAP, but they are concerned that she will not live through the operation or that she will be crippled as a result of it. Sarah wants Nate to marry her again so that there is no question as to Matty’s guardian if something happens to him.

The stage is set. The operation takes place…and Sarah comes through with flying colors. Now what do they do? They are legally married again. Sarah has no family, but Nate’s family is leery of this working. They remember how heartbroken Nate was the last breakup. But Matt is bonding with Nate. And both Sarah and Nate realize they are still attracted.

The story is about how they decide their future. Sarah is an interior designer. Nate isn’t sure what he wants to do. Can they make it work this time? Do they want to try?

While initially expecting a very different story, Carroll takes us places we didn’t think we’d be going. She throws in just enough curve balls to make it interesting, allowing Sarah and Nate time to be reacquainted before they hop into bed. She also gives Nate time to know Matt.

Both Nate and Sarah are thoughtful and logical people. They discuss things and think through their actions. It is the slow re-emergence of their love for each other that distinguishes this tale from many others.

Marriage by Necessity starts off with a weak, melodramatic premise, but it ends with a strong and enjoyable second-chance romance.

--Shirley Lyons

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