Sail Away

 
Some Menís Dreams
by Kathleen Korbel
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1237, PG, $4.75) ISBN 0-373-27307-X
****
Some Menís Dreams is a continuation of the Kendall saga, begun with Jakeís Way (SIM 413) and continued with Simple Gifts (SIM 571). If your memory is normal, then you may not remember these two books, written eleven and nine years ago. Luckily, this isnít†a problem. Some Menís Dreams stands on its own quite nicely due to the talent of Kathleen Korbel. An accomplished romance writer, Korbel also writes mysteries under her real name - Eileen Dreyer.

Some Men's Dreams tells the story of Dr. Genevieve Kendall. At a baseball game for the attending-physicians team that challenges the residents, Gen is called on to pinch hit. The pitcher is none other than Dr. John Parker O'Neill, the new chief of pediatric critical care, and Gen's boss for the last month. In a less than auspicious meeting, during Gen's turn at bat, rather than saving the day for the residents, she manages to hit the ball right into Jack O'Neill, knocking him out.

With a cracked skull, Jack is going to be spending a few days recuperating† in his new hospital. His biggest worry is for Elizabeth, his twelve-year old daughter. Jack knows that Elizabeth has deep fears about him being injured and their being separated. Jack's wife and Elizabeth's mother has been dead for four years. Sensing Elizabeth's fears and insecurities, Gen volunteers to keep her while Jack is in the hospital.

Gen has been the family caregiver ever since her own mother died when she was a young woman.† Looking after Elizabeth and Jack is just an extension of her caring. What she doesn't anticipate is that this family is going to become so important to her. Elizabethís dangerous pattern of coping with her loss slowly becomes evident to Gen. Telling Jack and convincing him that Elizabeth is in trouble will test her mettle. Coming to love this family, she knows that making Jack accept the truth may destroy any chances that Gen has of becoming a part of the lives of these two.

One of the things that makes this story so strong and compelling is the complexity of the characters. Jack and Gen have all-too-human foibles and weaknesses. Gen has had more practice in dealing with life tragedies, a fact which makes her stronger. Jack is still unwilling to trust this strong, compassionate woman with all of his secrets; he fears his deepest, black secret will destroy those he loves. His reluctance to accept her compassion and love is understandable, if a tad irritating.

Jack has moments of great tenderness as his friendship with Gen grows. He does recognize her strength and caring, and he decides that itís time for her family to acknowledge how her strength has enriched their lives. His tribute is moving and very sweet. The bantering dialog between Jack and Gen is filled with spice and wit.

Elizabeth is a strong secondary character. Korbel makes her seem real, a truly frightened adolescent whose life is spiraling out of her control. Other Kendall siblings are reintroduced; brother Jake and sister Lee have strong supporting roles.

In Some Menís Dreams Kathleen Korbel has shown us again why sheís an important part of the landscape of romance books. As a member of the RWA Hall of Fame, sheís given us some classics. Any romance reader worth her salt knows and treasures A Rose for Maggie . While her latest SIM is an enjoyable and memorable story, it doesnít break new ground nor have the emotional impact of A Rose for Maggie. Regardless, this story with its richly textured drama and all-too-human characters will be rewarding and ensure that your reading is time well-spent.

--Linda Mowery


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