Infertility is a pretty tough subject to write about in a romance. Always Annie is a book that handles the subject both well and not so well. I want to warn you ahead of time that there are going to be a few spoilers in this review – needful, just to explain the rating.
Annie has been divorced from Josh for several years. After three miscarriages, the whole focus of their marriage was their failure to have a healthy baby, and how they handled the last miscarriage was the final blow to their dissolving marriage. Annie and Josh both managed to move on with their lives – Josh founding his own law practice in a distant city, and Annie opening a cozy bookstore in their hometown. They have managed to avoid each other for years, but all that is about to change when Annie is injured during an attempted robbery at her store. She goes to stay with her ex brother and sister-in-law for the holidays, and meets up again with Josh who is visiting. Because of a lack of space, Josh ends up staying at Annie’s with his teenage stepsons (from a second divorce) and Annie and he must confront their past.
Ok folks, spoiler time. This for the most part is a gentle book. Annie and Josh are surrounded by people about whom they care, and the infertility subject is handled with sensitivity. My question is why does this particular happy ending have to end with a baby, especially with the baby coming so soon after they rekindled their relationship? So many couples who are infertile never have that experience, and manage to move on with their lives and find happiness. To me, it would have been better, and more realistic, had they managed to be happy without the baby.
Always Annie has a lot going for it – two caring, pretty well adjusted people, teenage boys that are sweet without being too sweet, and familial and friendly relationships that are touching and funny. It did have some other flaws, however. Annie and Josh are in the getting to know one another again stage for a very short time, and, before you can blink an eye, they have married again. I had to read that part over again thinking that I missed something. And, for a book that stressed the importance of family relationships, it seemed odd that Annie’s family was never even mentioned. Was she part of a witness protection program?
Babies are a big part of being married, and are a big part of the happily ever after in many romances. Always Annie had the potential of being different – of making a statement. Instead it went the other way, and became like almost every other romance these days. You won’t find anything new or inspiring here, which is really too bad – it came so close.