Again, My Love by Kayla Perrin
(Genesis Press, $10.95, PG-13) ISBN 1-8854478-23-2
Again, My Love, Canadian author Kayla Perrin's first novel, is a story about second chances.

Marcia Robertson and Gavin Williams were young and in love. They had their whole lives ahead of them. When Marcia's big career break came steady work on a television series as one of the show's main characters, Gavin gave her an ultimatum: me or your career...

Marcia chose her career and left town to pursue her dream. Once Gavin got over the shock, he accepted a teaching job in Japan and tried to pick up the pieces of his life. For four years, he's been lugging around some pretty heavy memories of Marcia and what could have been. It's a classic case of "If I coulda, woulda, shoulda..."

But Marcia's big break became a big bust after she fought off a producer's advances and was subsequently fired from the show. She is struggling to rebuild her acting career.

When Again, My Love begins, Marcia is living in Toronto with her current boyfriend Jackson Reid, who stars in a hit television series. They look good together and attend all the right parties. A real fun couple...

But something is wrong between Jackson and Marcia. They are out of synch and it's not just that they are at different levels in their acting careers. Jackson just is not the same person Marcia was attracted to two years before. He is drinking a lot more and requires constant adulation. She suspects he is having an affair.

Jackson has "gone Hollywood," or Vancouver or wherever it is that Canadian actors go when their egos surge into overdrive.

Marcia is wrestling with subconscious demons as well. She has begun having dreams about Gavin and nightmares about a tragic occurrence after their breakup. She receives a belated birthday card from Gavin and learns that he returned to Canada after his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

His mother's illness and his unrelenting love for Marcia show Gavin how fragile life and love are. He sets out on a campaign to win Marcia back. He knows it won't be easy because he has hurt her and because of her relationship with Jackson.

Again, My Love is a very straightforward romance. It is a story about the imperfections in a seemingly perfect love relationships. It is also a story of love, forgiveness, friendship, insecurity, secrets and trust.

The action swings like a pendulum between past and present until the two become one. The reader gets a sense of the love between Gavin and Marcia and why their reunion is so intense.

Their relationship is believable. They have caused each other a great deal of pain. So, in spite of the intensity of their feelings, they are both cautious.

The character development is honest as Gavin painstakingly woos and romances Marcia, but works equally as hard to patiently restore her trust in him. For her part, Marcia struggles to protect herself from being vulnerable to Gavin and Jackson. The secondary characters provide a necessary support system of friends, colleagues, sisters and mothers.

Again, My Love is a good start by a new author. I'm adding Kayla Perrin to my "Emerging Authors" list because she's one to watch.

--Gwendolyn Osborne

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