Can a middle-age woman with a chronic fungal condition find love, or at least decent medical coverage? She might find both in this unlikely winner from the best-selling Haywood Smith.
Since the death of her devoted Tom a year ago, Cassie has been keeping up a brave front. But with years of undiagnosed health problems and a dwindling bank account, something has got to improve. She gives a new doctor a try and in the waiting room meets Jack, a sloppy curmudgeon who looks even worse than she does—he’s missing a leg and has blue lips, a clear sign of COPD. Jack is rude, but no matter, Cassie’s visit with this doctor is a revelation: Finally she has a diagnosis and a plan. She has a genetic deficiency leaving her with a severe allergy to fungus. A new diet and a glass house would be best, but the mold-remediation specialists guarantee her an improved environment when they’re done emptying out her bank account. At her next appointment, Jack is there again, with the same diagnosis and the same directive. Only, as he doesn’t have a hundred grand for a mold-free house, Cassie volunteers to help him clean. When she gets to his farmhouse outside of Atlanta, she thinks she’s stepped into an episode of Hoarders. No wonder Jack is dying. As payment for her help, he begins setting up her online dating accounts. She’s humiliated but reluctantly acknowledges she needs better medical insurance, so of course, a new husband. When dating doesn’t work out—one handsome archaeologist literally had skeletons in his closet—Jack and Cassie hatch a plan. He moves into her expensively sanitized home, and she gets to marry him for his excellent benefits. Whether this is a marriage made in hell or heaven depends on whether they can stick to the long list of rules and whether they can admit their growing fondness.
In Smith’s sure hands, this funny tale of unlovable misfits is a gentle, romantic surprise.