A Husband of Her Own
Stories about the town bad boy are a staple of the series romance field. In Brenda Novak’s A Husband Of Her Own, the town bad girl and the boy-who-can-do-no-wrong find that despite their years of bickering, they make a perfect couple.
Rebecca Wells lives in Dundee, Idaho. Her father is the mayor, her mother is a combination of Martha Stewart and June Cleaver, her sisters are all married and on their way to emulating their mother, and Rebecca is – a disappointment. She was the youngest child and not a boy and for that her father has never forgiven her. Rebecca was never a sweet, compliant little girl, and has spent her entire life getting into scrapes and picking fights. Most of her mischief centered around Josh Hill.
Josh is perfect. Just ask Rebecca’s father (and anyone else in town). Rebecca played pranks on him all through high school and everyone thinks they hate each other. After high school, Josh graduated from college and now set up a successful horse ranch. Rebecca is a beautician. She is engaged to Buddy, a man she met over the Internet. Buddy is… well, he’s a Beta double minus kind of guy. After he postpones their wedding – again – Rebecca is left with no place to stay (she’s cancelled her lease), so she moves in with her old pal Booker, the town bad boy, and his grandmother. But she keeps running into Josh, who is half-heartedly courting Mary, a former classmate.
I liked Rebecca a lot. She isn’t really bad at all. Yes, she’s a bit wild, has a tattoo, dresses kind of flamboyantly, but she has a kind and loving heart that she hides under her spiny exterior. Rebecca always wanted her father’s approval but never got it. Because she couldn’t be the perfect son, she took out all her hurt on Josh, who was everything her father wanted. But with age comes wisdom, and Rebecca begins to realize that she doesn’t hate Josh at all. In fact, her feelings are quite the opposite.
Josh is a good guy. He would like to be Rebecca’s friend and helps her when she needs someone to move furniture. He likes her passion, her fire, and her habit of sticking up for the underdog (one of the reasons she got in trouble in school was her habit of beating up bullies). Josh does not like Rebecca’s father’s habit of putting her down and he wants her to be happy. And frankly, he wants to be the one to make her happy.
A Husband Of Her Own is set in the town of Dundee. Some of the town’s inhabitants are more vivid than others, but Novak’s skill is in giving the reader a strong sense of the town, which comes to life like it does in Rachel Lee’s Conard County series. There is one rather far-fetched scene in which Rebecca accidently sets Josh’s truck on fire and almost everyone in town acted censoriously toward her. And at one point in the story Josh acts very high-handedly, bot these are both minor problems.
I’m going to to go back and check out Brenda Novak’s earlier books, Taking The Heat, and Baby of Her Own – which is also set in Dundee, Idaho, a place I want to visit again.