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Monday, March 20, 2006

Phantom Waltz by Catherine Anderson

***Note: I think I'm finally caught up on my book reviews now. I apologize if some of them weren't quite as detailed as normal, but to be honest, I just wanted them done. Stay tuned for your regularily scheduled programming. End Note***

One glance. That's all it takes. Wealthy rancher Ryan Kendrick falls hard—and fast—for lovely Bethany Coulter. A beguiling mix of sass and shyness, naiveté and maturity, she shares his passion for horses, has a great sense of humor, and can light up a room with her beautiful smile. She's absolutely perfect—in every way but one....

A long-ago barrel-racing accident has left Bethany confined to a wheelchair. In the years since, she has known both betrayal and heartbreak—and vowed never to open her heart to a man again. She has even accepted the possibility that she'll never be able to enjoy a healthy intimate relationship—or have children of her own. But there's something about handsome Ryan Kendrick. Something that makes her believe she can overcome every obstacle. Something that makes her believe in lifelong, lasting love....

My first book by Catherine Anderson was Summer Breeze, which I just happened to pick up last week...and aboslutely adored. I'll admit I had high hopes for this one after my truly wonderful experience with SB and because the girl at B&N told me this is her favorite CA so far.

While I can't say I didn't enjoy this book, it certainly didn't live up to my expectations from SB.

I don't believe a heroine has to be perfect. Or a hero, for that matter. Some of my favorite heroes are extremely flawed, with visable scars and missing hands. Just as some of my favorite heroines are less than perfect. So when I read the back of this book and saw that the heroine was confined to a wheel chair, I'll admit that I was very intrigued.

While the story itself was well written and I loved the different characters, I wasn't overly impressed with the heroine. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to have your life stripped away from you and be forced to live out the rest of your days in a wheel chair..and that's the problem. I just couldn't imagine it.

Instead of making me sympathize and connect with the heroine, I found myself a bit irritated with her. While - as I mentioned - I've never been in her situation before, I would have thought that she would have grabbed on to the hero with both hands instead of trying her best to push him away.

Ryan Kendrick saw Bethany Coulter and just knew...knew she was the woman he was going to spend the rest of his life with. He's taken back for a minute when he realizes she's in a wheel chair, but after spending one evening in her company, he knows that wheel chair or not, Bethany is his destiny.

So he sets out to do everything he possibly can to help her fit into his life. He spends a fortune remodeling his house to make it handicap friendly. He buys the most modern equipment available to help her function on her own at his house. He makes time to listen to her and support her and just be with her.

And the whole time Bethany is pushing him away because she swears it won't work between them. She's only half a woman, you see, and she thinks he deserves better.

Which, I understood.

Until the book was almost over and she was still breaking his heart "For his own good". How many times have we screamed at a hero for taking away a heroines choices? Well, the roles were reversed here.

I just couldn't like Bethany. I tried as hard as I could, but she just didn't work for me.

I've not given up on CA, however. SB was an awesome book, and I'm sure her others are as well. I just couldn't get into this one and connect with the heroine like I could with the other.

I have a few more of hers in my TBR pile and I'll let you know what I think when I'm done.

As for this one, I'm giving it a:

3 out of 5

because it wasn't an awful story, but it rubbed me the wrong way.

Ladies? One of you care to read this one so you can say I'm wrong?



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