Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Book Review: Almost Perfect by Susan Mallery

Almost Perfect

Author: Susan Mallery
Series: Fool's Gold
Publication: Harlequin Books (June 29, 2010)

Description: Back in high school, Liz Sutton was the girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Then she’d stolen the heart of the most popular boy in town, and their secret romance helped her through the worst of times. Until Ethan Hendrix betrayed her and everything they’d ever meant to each other. Devastated and pregnant, Liz left Fool’s Gold, California—forever, she thought….

Now Liz must return to town and face the man who doesn’t know of their son’s existence. And this time she won’t have the option of making a quick getaway. Ethan and Liz can’t deny their passionate attraction, even after all these years. But will their desire be enough to spark a second chance at love?

My Thoughts: This secret baby romance has been sitting on my TBR mountain for the past ten years. I was looking for a romance and grabbed this one. I'm generally happy that I did.

Liz Sutton left Fool's Gold shortly after high school graduation. Since she had a horrible home life with her alcoholic mother who dabbled in prostitution and since she was picked on by the mean girls and propositioned by the boys who thought she was life her mother, getting away should have been a relief. However, that departure was spurred when Ethan Hendrix, the boy she thought loved her, denied their relationship and didn't deny it when his friends called her a whore. She was heartbroken and fled only to learn three weeks later that she was pregnant. She went back to tell Ethan and found him in bed with another girl.

Liz did try again to tell Ethan about his son when Tyler was five. This time she was thwarted by his wife who never bothered to tell Ethan that she had come to see him. Also, she forged a letter in Ethan's name saying that he wanted nothing to do with her or her son and to stay away.

But Liz needs to go back to Fool's Gold when she gets an email from her fourteen-year-old niece telling her that she and her sister had been abandoned by their stepmother when her father - Liz's brother - went to prison. She didn't know she had nieces at all. She had had no contact with her brother since he'd left home when Liz was 12. 

Liz hopes to be able to solve her niece's problems and get out of Fool's Gold without ever running into Ethan. But of course, that isn't going to happen. Ethan isn't happy to see her and is even less happy when he learns that she has been keeping the fact of her son Tyler from him for eleven years.

Ethan is not a particularly appealing hero. He's too concerned with being right and too concerned with his reputation and that of his family. He deeply resents that Liz kept him from his son and doesn't believe her explanations until he sees the letter that he supposedly sent which only changed things a little for his attitude. It doesn't help either of them that the attraction between them is still so strong. Liz is shown over and over again that Ethan can't be trusted and she keeps trying to be fair despite his abuses.

Also, Fool's Gold doesn't warmly embrace her on her return. Ethan's powerful family takes Ethan's side at first. But gradually Liz finds out that Fool's Gold isn't so bad. There are people there who have the potential of being friends despite their mean girl pasts. 

I enjoyed this story despite Ethan's slow change of heart and mind. I thought the characters were interesting and complex. I especially liked that Liz has become a best selling mystery author since she left town and liked that she chose to kill Ethan over and over again in her books. 

Favorite Quote:
The words practical and marriage don't belong in the same conversation. Nothing about marriage is practical. It's wonderful and difficult and amazing and demanding. Besides, no one wants a proposal like that. We want to hear the man in question is madly in love with us. We want to be swept away. Not compared to a really good microfiber dust cloth. Attractive and practical. That's going to make your heart beat faster.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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