A Shocking Request by Colleen Faulkner
(Silh. Romance #1573, $3.99, G) ISBN 0-373-19573-7
****
On the night of his wedding anniversary, Grant Monroe settles in his easy chair, with a bowl of macaroni and cheese, to watch a videotape made for him by his wife. Having died from breast cancer, Ally Monroe left her husband instructions to watch the tape two years after her passing.

On the tape, Ally tells her husband that itís time for him to move on with his life, to start dating again. She knows her husband well enough to know heíll balk. After all, who would possibly want to date a man living on a principalís salary, with three daughters to raise? Her solution? He should date her best friend, Jenna Cartwright.

Jenna is still close to the Monroe family, even taking the girls out shopping every now and then to give Grant a break. She has known Grant since college, and even introduced him to Ally. She thinks she knows him really well, so why is he giving her goofy looks all of the sudden? Imagine her surprise when he asks her out!

Jenna is a likeable heroine, devoted to her teaching job, her younger sister who has Downís syndrome, and the Monroe family. Losing Ally was devastating for her as well, and she has worried about Grant over the last two years. When he expresses his interest in her, she begins to see him in a whole new light.

Grant may have asked Jenna out on Allyís suggestion, but once that suggestion is planted in his mind; he too begins to see Jenna differently. He has coped with the loss of his wife by devoting his time to his job and children - being around Jenna makes him realize that he has been neglecting himself.

Some light conflict makes its way into the story via Grantís oldest daughter and Jennaís sister. These issues are handled well, are not tiresome, and give the story some added momentum. Faulkner also adds some nicely done romantic moments - small gestures that add up to a satisfying conclusion.

This is the first book I have ever read in the Silhouette Romance line, and it also happens to be the first one Faulkner has ever written. The old-fashioned romantic in me really enjoyed this story. A nice sweet read, minus any cloying saccharine.

--Wendy Crutcher


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