Heaven Sent by Rachel Wilson
(Jove, $5.99, PG) ISBN 0-515-13181-4
***
Callie Prophet knows what the motherless Becky Lockhart needs - love, a family, reassurance. What Becky has instead is a lonely mansion, a father who is trapped in his own grief and Callie for a friend. When Aubrey, Becky’s father, finally decides Becky needs a nanny, Callie knows she is the right person for the job. She loves Becky and has ever since she began to read the letters the little girl writes to her dead mother. When Callie goes to ask for the nanny job, she just hopes she can put up with the annoying Aubrey. Aubrey, stunned by the outspoken young woman who Becky wants for her nanny, hopes he can put up with Callie.

Neither of them endears themselves to the other until Callie reads Aubrey’s love letters to his dead wife. Callie, who had been infuriated at how Aubrey ignored his child to wallow in sorrow, comes to a better understanding of how he must feel. She also wishes someone loved her that way. With her new insight into what Aubrey lost, she begins to fall in love with him. But Aubrey just sees Callie as the woman who is good for his daughter.

Callie is smart, forthright, and kind. A reader can like this heroine. Her biggest flaw is that she’s falling in love with an annoying hero. Aubrey gets only marginally better from his original self-pitying beginning. He resents Callie for making him realize he has fallen into the routine of sorrow even though he needs to make an effort to do more for his child. Aubrey resents Callie for being annoyed with him when he proposes to her for the sake of Becky. Aubrey is jealous because Becky goes to Callie for everything. Aubrey does a lot of irritating things.

Not much drama happens in the story. Becky adores Callie from the beginning so Callie doesn’t have to do much work there. Callie is a fairly perfect heroine (except for her taste in heroes and habit of reading private mail.) The two lovers bicker, gradually bicker less, and then Callie has to break the news to Aubrey that she intruded into his privacy by reading his love letters. More fighting resumes. Will Aubrey ever forgive Callie? Sigh. Should Callie ever forgive Aubrey? Too bad no one ever asks that question. Perhaps a story that revolves around a woman reading love letters meant for someone else and falling in love with the writer is a story that keeps the lovers too removed from direct, passionate involvement with each other.

Callie is a sweetheart of a heroine with a loving nature and a tart tongue. Aubrey gradually shows a sense of humor and more self-awareness than might be originally expected as he learns a man can love more than once.

Unfortunately the hero and heroine’s chemistry in Heaven Sent just doesn’t contain the excitement one hopes for in a romance.

--Irene Williams


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