May 20 2006
Dear Ms. Mandel,
Applause, applause, standing applause. You’re gonna like what I have to say about your book. Anna Bolles is smart, funny and in love with Joe. Joe Malone is smart, gorgeous, and in love with Anna. They know they have something special, something that everybody looks for. They know this by chapter 2. So, I can hear all the authors reading this yelling, where’s the conflict? Where’s the plot? You can’t just have the h/h fall in love on page 10 and that be it.
The It is that Anna has MS, multiple sclerosis. It colors every aspect of her life from home to work (she’s a high school English teacher) and when she got it five years ago, she mentally closed the door marked *future* in her life. Now she’s not sure if Joe will be there for the long haul or if she wants him to be. MS is an awful disease and her relapses aren’t pretty. Does she want Joe to see her like that? Does she, can she believe in *for better or for worse, in sickness and in health?* Because her worse and sickness are already here and they aren’t going to get any better.
This is a great book. It’s not always easy and you let us see the character’s flaws as well as their good points. Life isn’t easy for anyone but Anna has challenges that most of us wouldn’t even realize. You show that, show how MS can totally change a life and by golly you get the drugs that Anna has to take right. But you don’t bash us over the head with it or get all preachy and maudlin. Joe and Anna have tough issues to face but face them they do. And when they walk back down the aisle (well, actually Joe carries Anna as her left leg has decided to take a vacation during the ceremony), I believe in their future. It won’t be all rosey and love won’t cure Anna but I can see them working on things, working out things and staying together for the future. A- Gosh I love this book.