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Friday, July 23, 2010

Autumn Desire by Sharon Noble

Autumn Desire by Sharon Noble
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (230 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 3 Books
Reviewed by Rosemary

A widow is torn between loyalty to her dead husband and passion for his hated rival. After a fairy-tale marriage, Paula Wincott has lost her husband, Sam, noted researcher and chemistry professor at the University of Colorado to a sudden heart attack. She attributes his death to his bitterness and despair after being displaced in the department by a younger rival, Boyd Mackenzie.

Although they have never met, Paula holds Boyd in contempt, blaming him for her widowhood. Lonely and rudderless, she signs up for a chemistry class, but when she finds herself in Boyd's class, her well-ordered world shatters as passion flares between them, overwhelming her senses and threatening her loyalty to a dead man.

When Paula Wincott enrolls in college after her husband of 32 years dies, her education is more about life and love than Chemistry 101. Her world is turned upside down as she gains a new perspective and insight into her life and marriage, and she’s astounded to discover that love and passion aren’t just for the young.

Paula Wincott left college at the age of 18 to marry Sam, a well respected college professor who was twice her age. While there is no doubt that Sam loved Paula, it quickly becomes obvious that a big reason why he married her was because she was young, malleable, and content to let him have the reins in their marriage. Deciding to go to college is the first decision that Paula makes for herself, and she perseveres in spite of her daughter’s objections and her unavoidable contact with Boyd Mackenzie.

Boyd is totally unaware of the animosity that Sam harbored for him. He is instantly attracted to Paula, and he is totally at a loss when faced with her anger and bitterness toward him. When forced to work together on a project to secure funding for her late husband’s work, Boyd finally breaks through Paula’s hostility, and they begin to build a relationship. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much for Paula to doubt Boyd’s sincerity, and their budding relationship comes to a grinding halt.

I really enjoyed Paula’s transformation from a dependent wife with low self-esteem to a strong woman who believes she has a lot to offer to the world. In the beginning of the book, I found it hard to relate to Paula, but as the story of her marriage to Sam unfolds and I gained a better understanding of her, I found myself engrossed in her self-discovery. Once she finally begins to question her long held beliefs and viewpoints, she finds the courage to approach friends and ask for their opinions about herself and her marriage. She does not always like the answers she receives, but she is honest enough to recognize their point of view reinforces what she already knows to be true.

What makes Autumn Desire such a good read is Boyd’s straight forward handling of Paula. He is a strong man, but he does not overpower Paula as Sam did. He challenges her viewpoint, but he also realizes when to back down.

Autumn Desire is an even paced story with likeable characters and a believable plot. However, the dialogue is a bit stilted and dated on occasion, and there are a few minor editing errors. Autumn Desire takes place over several months, and I’m glad that Ms. Noble doesn’t rush Paula’s change of heart toward Boyd. And I completely enjoyed the slow build up of Paula and Boyd’s relationship.

Autumn Desire is a heart-warming book, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy Paula and Boyd’s love story as much as I did.