In Omasta’s (Chances and Choices, 2014, etc.) contemporary romance, a Key Largo woman sets out to change her life, and soon meets a seemingly perfect man.
At a rummage sale not long after her 42nd birthday, Fern Burns picks up a copy of the self-help book The Secret, which she’s been meaning to read ever since she heard Oprah Winfrey talk it up. “This book is going to change my life,” she writes in her diary. Her life is mostly fine; she enjoys her friends and beautiful Key Largo, but admits it would be nice to earn more money and get her own place. She wouldn’t turn down a hot romance, either. Her job and housing soon improve, and although her first post-Secret dating attempt doesn’t work out, a new, sexy man eventually appears: Brody MacDonald, nicknamed “Mac.” The stranger has the “biggest yacht in the harbor,” and wields “the elusive black Club member card,” so Fern figures he must be a billionaire. Mac woos her with thoughtfulness, wonderful dates and stellar sex. But he’s got a secret, which soon leaves Fern with an important decision. The reason for Mac’s elusiveness will be so obvious to readers that it’s hard to believe that the reasonably intelligent Fern couldn’t figure it out. (She doesn’t always put two and two together; for example, she’s been meaning to get around to buying The Secret for many years, when she could have easily gone to the library all along.) Still, Fern is fun company, and possesses a lively, humorous, likably down-to-earth voice that keeps the tale moving briskly. Some lines are laugh-out-loud funny: when describing her roommate coming home with her boyfriend, for example, Fern writes that they “barely even had time to walk across the room to her bed before I heard him start ramming into her. I wanted to shout, ‘Way to pre-heat the oven, Dipshit,’ but I somehow managed to refrain.” Omasta also makes great use of her Florida location, adding lots of local culture and color.
An entertaining, down-to-earth heroine makes this predictable romance a good vacation read.