Thursday, 1 September 2011
365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #166
A Real Hero - Jean Brashear
Silhouette Books, 2005
From the back cover:
"A man who can't walk away from trouble - and a woman who's nothing but!
Travelling incognito, Zane MacAllister, Hollywood's hottest heartthrob, has at last eluded the rabid gossipmongers who trail him and now he has the time and space to sort through his life and see what he's become.
And then he comes upon Roan O'Hara, pale, thin to the point of starvation, a woman at the end of her rope. She's determined to survive the harsh winter and her grit and vulnerability compel him to stay and help her out. This woman has secrets, and so does he. But just when they're about to come clean with each other, the outside world catches up..."
Staying with older books, I was really looking forward to reading this one. The blurb sounds intense, and it certainly was!
The hero Zane is a world famous, and gorgeous, movie star but he is feeling dissatisfied with his fame and 'LA' life. His feelings are worsened when his ex girlfriend commits suicide after battling a drug addiction. Zane escapes on a road trip to his family home and to spend some time alone on the journey. He has also dyed his hair and grown a beard to avoid being immediately recognised. Stopping for gas in a small mountainous village he comes across Roan, the heroine. He notices how fragile and defeated she seems and wants to help her, especially when he finds her passed out on the side of the road. He helps her with some repairs to the dilapidated cottage she is living in, as well as trying to get her to open up.
Roan is trying to get through each day and battle her demons. She has had a hard life; growing up with an alcoholic mother, a disastrous marriage and the death of her baby all led her to a drug addiction and suicide attempt. She has chosen life but it doesn't make it any less hard for her to get through each day. She doesn't need or want Zane's help, but he insists. They grow close but with Roan's past problems and Zane keeping his true identity secret, any relationship between them is a disaster waiting to happen.
Phew, this is quite a tough book to read; it is intense, emotional and heartbreaking. It's certainly not a light read. The author has written a very, very flawed heroine but she never makes it seem like the character blames circumstance for her problems or wallows in self pity. I admired the bravery of the heroine and really responded to the fact that the author has taken a risk with this book. The hero is also a good character, although his 'do-gooder' needs got a little annoying. What I like most about this book is the journey that both the characters have been on and then go on together. There is some fantastic character growth, and the relationship between them is built slowly but beautifully. It is very satisfying. The ending felt a little forced though.
Have those tissues handy, this is an emotional book!