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REVIEW: Promoted: To Wife and Mother by Jessica Hart

Dear Ms. Hart:

037317501901lzzzzzzzCongratulations on getting nominated for the 2008 RNA Romance Prize Shortlist. It’s a good thing that the RNA doesn’t judge on titles because despite the cringe inducing title, this is a touching, heartfelt book.

Perdita James is the Operations Manager of Bell Browning Engineering and she and the rest of the management team is sent to a leadership training course after BBE gets a new CEO, Ed Merrick. Perdita is irritated because she’s a good leader, thank you very much, and doesn’t see much use in being defined as peacock by some questionnaire where all the other management members are friendly dolphins or nit picking owls.

The truth is that Perdita is a peacock. People listen to her and gravitate toward her. In a room full of people, Perdita is bound to be at the center of the loudest, biggest circle as she charms people with her smarts and her humor.

Interestingly, while Perdita and Ed work together, this isn’t at all about a boss/subordinate conflict. Ed Merrick, a widower of five years with three children, decided to take this job far from London to move his kids to a better neighborhood and away from the temptations of London. Ed’s immediately moved by Perdita, almost despite himself given that she spends as much time getting ready as his teenaged daughter and that she is so different than his deceased wife. The more that he observes and spends time with Perdita, the more he respects and likes her and realizes that while he might have enjoyed and loved the restful, gentle spirit of his past wife, he was ready for the fiery super competent Perdita.

The problem isn’t that Perdita isn’t attracted to Ed. She is. But she had a long relationship with a single father and it broke her, almost completely, when her former love refused to even once put her ahead of his children. Perdita struggled with the guilt of wanting to be first with the resentment of not being first and the bone crushing unhappiness when she found out that she wasn’t worth enough to her former lover. Getting over Nick, the old flame, took an enormous effort. Complicating this Perdita is taking care of her mother who is increasingly ill and in need of 24 hour care. Perdita just can’t see how the two of them with their many commitments could ever make a life together.

This story has plenty of angst in it, but it also has a great spirit of humor lent primarily by Perdita as she battles her attraction to Ed. In several scenes she tries to set Ed up with her divorced best friend but becomes instantly angry and jealous when the friend pretends interest in Ed and makes to pursue him.

There is so much that is relatable about Perdita. She’s definitely a strong woman, one confident in her success in business and really her ability to achieve almost anything. But she’s given a piece of her heart away in the past, subsuming her natural individuality for a man and she never wants to go there again.

Ed is a wonderful character. He’s at times frustrated and angry and patient. As a reader, I couldn’t help but cheer for these two people to get together. They seem so clearly suited but Perdita’s explanation for not wanting to get involved with Ed made sense. It wasn’t as if she wasn’t open to relationships, just not one with a single father. For Ed’s part, he had loved his wife, but he was ready for a relationship. Let me end with the one characteristic about Perdita that was important but not defining and that is that Perdita is 40 and I really appreciated seeing a woman of her age get the starring role in a romance book. B+

Best regards


This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. kathybaug
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 13:20:28

    Thank you for this review. There’s nothing in the blurb that talks about Perdita’s single father issues or her age. Just the typical bland blurb. I’ve put it in my cart at eHarlequin.

    Could you tell me how big a part the children play in the story? What are their ages? Just curious.

    Thanks again.

  2. Jane
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 13:52:53

    @kathybaug Two of the kids are teens and one is a preteen. I think Ed is in his mid forties although I don’t remember a specific age. One thing I particularly liked is that Perdita wasn’t at all concerned about her age nor did she miss having a child. Rather she was successful and busy and had ordered her life to her own satisfaction. It wasn’t until Ed came along that Perdita thought that grappled with the idea that there could be something more for her.

  3. GrowlyCub
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 14:19:27

    I have a bad tendency to nitpick and I really try not to, but I just have for this review, grin.

    I got all excited there for a second thinking how forward-thinking Mills and Boon must be to have a f/f story, and for that story to be nominated for a prestigious award too!

    Ed Merrick, a widow of five years with three children

    Alas, the next sentence dispelled that notion, seeing as Ed is a he not a she as the ‘widow’ implied. :)

  4. Sunita
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 14:20:35

    Thanks for the review, I’ll have to pick this up. Gotta support those older heroines who like their lives! I’ve read one Jessica Hart (Barefoot Bride) and would probably put it in the B/B- range, and I have another in my TBR.

  5. Claudia
    Feb 01, 2009 @ 11:54:37

    Great review Jane. What prevented this B+ read from being an A book for you?

  6. Jane
    Feb 01, 2009 @ 14:21:58

    @Claudia it lacked rereadable quality for me.

  7. Chicklet
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 09:12:16

    I’m using this book as Exhibit A for “How Harlequin Sabotages its Books by Giving Them Horrible Titles” — I never would have even read the blurb because the title makes me throw up a little in my mouth. Even after reading this rave review, I don’t know if I’ll be able to fork over money for it. Bad Harlequin! No biscuit!

  8. Julia Sullivan
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 18:54:20

    I never would have even read the blurb because the title makes me throw up a little in my mouth.

    No, me either. I will instead look for other books by Jessica Hart, because barf.

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