Anything For His Children

Hanging By a Thread

Loose Screws

Plain-Jane Princess

Playing For Keeps

Runaway Bridesmaid

 
A Husband's Watch
by Karen Templeton
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1407, $4.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-27477-7
**
The thing about category fiction is that you usually know what you're getting. Want an edgy, sexy read? Blaze is for you. Feel like an emotional joy-ride? Pick up a Superromance. In the mood for some extravagant plot lines about the rich and famous? Go for Harlequin Presents. And when I found an Intimate Moment in my batch of books to review, I was expecting to be "sparked by danger" and "fueled by passion" just as the line advertises. Boy, was I disappointed! No sparks, no fuel, no danger, and very little passion. Whatever conflict there is revolves around a family melodrama. Surely, this book should have been marketed as a Superromance or a Special Edition.

Darryl and Faith got married when she was pregnant. He worked as a mechanic, and she gave up a budding career as a singer to take care of their quickly growing family (five children at the last count). Now, twelve years later, he is the victim of a hard-hitting natural disaster and has to reconsider the family's future when he realizes he may never be able to use his arm again. Which is why he reluctantly agrees to Faith getting a job while he stays at home with the children.

To make matters worse, Faith has taken to sleeping on the couch for reasons that may have little to do with his injury. Darryl would like to save his marriage, but he's not sure that's what she wants.

Luckily for him, both of their families are on his side. His father interferes. Her mother interferes. Their first-born daughter interferes. Which wouldn't be too annoying if these rescue operations weren't the major events in what is billed as a suspenseful read. I kept waiting for something other than their personal doubts and the recent twist of fate to strike. Maybe she would be held hostage while working at the convenience store or stalked when picking up the children from daycare or harassed by a disgruntled colleague. Maybe the plumbing would burst, or the blender would spew food. Something - anything - to hike up the stakes. But all I got was unexpected time alone for the couple, girls-night-out for Faith and more family interference urging Darryl to change things. I'm sorry, but however realistic this family portrait is, marriage in jeopardy does not a suspense story make - and that's a key attraction of an Intimate Moment.

Would I have liked A Husband's Watch any better if it had come packaged differently? Maybe not. The conflict is resolved too quickly; and the characters aren't particularly endearing. But at least, I wouldn't be docking points because none of my category expectations were met. The only reason why I'm not assigning this book one heart is that it's well written. Then again, I'm not sure how much good grammar counts when what you're really looking for is a good story.

--Mary Benn


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