this very positive review by our own TBR Challenge coordinator, Super Wendy. So OK, it hasn't exactly been languishing in the TBR pile for very long, but it does meet the theme.
Molly O'Keefe's His Wife for One Night is the story of Mia and Jack and how their marriage of convenience becomes a real marriage in every sense. It's a well-told MOC story in a contemporary setting and, somewhat surprisingly, it really works. Mia and Jack had known one another most of their lives. Jack's father was a rancher and Mia's parents were employed on the ranch. Mia grew up in a loving home and fell in love, not only with Jack, but with ranching. Jack grew up in an abusive home. Mia was his best friend, but all Jack ever wanted to do was leave. Leave he does and he becomes a well-respected scientist who travels the world helping communities find safe sources of water. Mia stays behind, working on the ranch and loving Jack from afar. They stay in touch, though, and when Mia finds herself in danger of being thrown off the ranch by Jack's mother, Jack marries Mia so she can stay. Jack's parents end up divorcing and Mia not only assumes responsibility for the ranch, but she takes care of Jack's ailing father.
For 5 years they only see one another occasionally. Things come to a head when they finally become intimate and Mia realizes that she can't live half a life. She wants a divorce. Jack goes back to work, but is severely injured on the job. He comes back to the ranch to recuperate and find out what is going on with Mia. And Jack begins to discover what Mia has been doing for the ranch and for his father all of these years. He begins to see Mia in a whole new light. He's leery of Mia's love for him; his parents were far from a good example of a successful marriage. The bulk of the book takes place after Jack's injury and involves them working through their feelings and deciding whether they can make their marriage work. Not only does Jack need to change, but Mia needs to change as well--they've lived very different lives and making their marriage work means making accommodations for their differences.
This is a well-rounded novel. Jack's story also involves him coming to terms with his father and his father's neglect while his mother was busy being abusive. Jack's father, Walter, plays a significant part in the story as do Mia's mother and sister, Sandra and Lucy. Jack is challenged by all of them to deal with his past and fight for his future. I really liked both Jack and Mia. Neither were perfect; they seemed like normal people that I would want to know.
Meanwhile, is there a little sequel baiting in this book? Things with Walter could be seen as unresolved. If there is a sequel in the works, is Lucy the heroine? Is Jeremiah the hero? Well, whether the answers to my questions are yes or no, I think I'll be reading more by O'Keefe in the future. I definitely liked this book. Thanks, Wendy!