Friday, November 21, 2014

The Bottom Line by Sandy James - Review

The Bottom Line
(The Ladies Who Lunch #1)
by Sandy James
Published by: Forever Yours

When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. Surviving a failed marriage and an illness that almost takes her life, high school teacher Mallory Hamilton needs the Ladies Who Lunch more than ever . . .

After a year of upheaval, Mallory has had her fill of change—with one exception. Her house is a disaster, and she wants it fixed. Hiring a contractor to finish the projects her ex-husband started will help her banish the past so she can return to the life she had before everything went awry. But her contractor is sexy, sweet, and single, which threatens the peaceful, solitary life Mallory has planned for herself.

Ben Carpenter has had a hard time raising his daughter without his ex-wife’s help. His new client’s projects will give him the extra income he needs, not to mention afternoons alone with a gorgeous woman. Though their attraction is undeniable, Ben sees the fear and pain hiding in Mallory’s beautiful eyes. But how can he help her if she won’t let him in? Ben can fix just about anything—but can he fix Mallory’s broken heart?

My review:
I think this is the first time that I have read a romance novel where the main character is a cancer survivor and is dealing with breast reconstruction. It was certainly a nice change from the normal almost-perfect heroines.

Mallory's past year has been a real struggle. Her husband left her as soon as she found out she had cancer. Her three best friends were the ones who were there for her during her terrible low times. Now that she is feeling better and recovering from the fog of illness, she is ready to move forward, and part of this process includes renovating the home where she lived with her husband to make it her own. But Ben, the sexy contractor who shows up to work on her house, may just help her in more ways than she imagined.

The characters in this book are amazing. Mallory is a strong, mostly independent cancer survivor. She certainly needs her three best friends, but she thinks she doesn't need anyone else and has kept her cancer a secret from others. However, on the inside, she is vulnerable and still reeling from her ex-husband's rejection at a time when she needed him the most. Ben is hard-working and caring. I think the most sexy thing about him, however, is his true determination to do whatever it takes to take care of his daughter, Amber. Ben makes a bad decision regarding Mallory, which almost made me stop liking him, but it all came down to him being concerned for Amber. Out of Mallory's three best friends, the one we see the most is Juliana. I think Juliana is actually my favorite character in this book. She is sassy and strong-willed on the outside but sensitive on the inside. Reading about Juliana made me want to read the next book in the series just to get to know her more.

The love story in this book was certainly a new one for me. The characters were falling in love while dealing with the issues and pain of breast reconstruction and the fear of relapse. I think it was a great idea to bring this struggle in as the central plot, and Ms. James handled it beautifully. I would recommend this book and this series to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance.

A copy was provided for an honest review.

About the author:
Sandy lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis with her husband of thirty years and is a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband own a small stable of harness racehorses and enjoy spending time at the two Indiana racetracks.

She is published through Forever Yours, Carina Press, and BookStrand, as well as self-published. She has been an Amazon Bestseller many times and has won numerous awards, including two HOLT Medallions.

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