The Brazilian Husband

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The Brazilian Husband by Rebecca Powell (Women’s Fiction)

The Brazilian Husband is classified as a “Romance” on Amazon, but to me this incredible book was everything but. It is a fascinating story full of secrets, suspense, and surprising revelations set against the backdrop of heartbreaking shantytowns, terrifying urban crime, natural beauty, and the resilient, exuberant people of Brazil. It kept me reading from page one, and I never wanted to put it down.

Judith is a Londoner whose husband of fifteen years has committed suicide. Together with their daughter, Rosa, she is fulfilling his request to take his ashes home to his native Brazil, a place they never managed to visit together.

Judith knew Edson was gay when she married him; it was an arranged marriage paid for by his lover, Gavin, in order to hide the men’s relationship while keeping Edson in Great Britain. What she hadn’t bargained for was the baby girl he brought with him, whom she would raise as their daughter, nor did she expect to fall in love with Edson himself.

Rosa, about to turn sixteen, blames Judith for Edson’s suicide; she doesn’t know her father was gay, nor does she know that Judith is not her natural mother. All of that changes in Brazil as they search for Edson’s family. Nothing is as he said it was, including the circumstances of Rosa’s birth.

While I don’t normally review Romance novels, I was willing to accept this book from the author because she lived and worked in a woman’s shelter in Brazil, which promised authenticity for the setting. I am so glad I did. Rebecca Powell is an extremely talented writer who knows how to keep a story moving while creating a strong sense of place and vibrant characters whose lives and fates I cared about. There is romance, but nothing formulaic about it. Rather, it’s a stirring story with believable people seeking to understand, accept, and love one another under extreme circumstances.

Grandma gives The Brazilian Husband a rousing five stars.   5 stars

Bella Reads and Reviews Books received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Our Song: The Wilder Books #1

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Our Song: The Wilder Books #1 by Savannah Kade (Contemporary Romance)

Although classified as Romance, Our Song is a sweet love story involving good friends who come to love one another but believe the feeling is not mutual and therefore refrain from letting the other one know. The result, of course, is continuous frustration over what is perceived as unrequited love – frustration on the part of the two main characters, Kelsey and JD, and on the part of the reader who knows the truth. Unfortunately, for this reader, the frustration went on way too long, and I found myself skimming passages in search of something new and interesting that might move this tale along.

If you want a feel-good story about two nice people who’ve been given a lousy deal but make the best of it and ultimately find true love, you will enjoy this. Both main characters are very likeable, and we get to know these two single parents well. We experience their daily lives, how they and their children interact, what they eat, where they go, and everything they say. We know their innermost thoughts, how sexy they find each other, and how they misunderstand some basic information that makes each of them think the other couldn’t possibly feel the same way. We watch each of them work up his or her courage to take the big step and then, for the umpteenth time, fail to follow through, disappointing us all once more. Finally (not exactly a spoiler, since this is a romance), we watch them consummate their love and figure it all out.

Savannah Kade writes well. I’ve even forgiven her for the use of “revert back,” which happens to be a pet peeve of mine. She has created an interesting pair: a thirty-something woman who sacrificed her own happiness to take care of her ill brother and is now raising two children alone, and a younger man who finds himself with custody of a feisty little girl he never knew about and has no idea how to handle. Their story, however, needed fewer details about the mundane and more obstacles than self-doubt to keep this reader heavily invested in the outcome.

Grandma gives Our Song three stars. 3 stars

Bella Reads and Reviews received a free copy of Our Song from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.