Disguised Blessing is a pleasant read and an example of what I prefer if I’m reading something that falls into the women’s fiction category. It’s a story that has enjoyable protagonists and a semi-serious plot that isn’t too deep but still has substance. That’s both a strength and a weakness, because the author missed some wonderful opportunities to explore the full range of human emotion.
Catherine Miller is finally happy. She’s engaged to a wonderful man and has a good relationship with her 15-year-old daughter, Lynda. While on vacation at Rainbow Lake, Catherine believes she is so happy that she can even tempt the Fates by giving voice to her thoughts. It is at this point, of course, when things begin to go wrong. Lynda’s clothes catch fire in an accident at a friend’s house and she suffers some bad burns. Catherine’s life is completely changed by this. Tom, the fiance, is revealed to be a complete ass, and Catherine finds new depths of strength in herself and a new love with Lynda’s burn counselor.
Catherine has always relied on men to take care of her – her father, her first husband, and then her fiance. It’s nice to see her take charge and take care of herself as the book progresses. She’s an incredible mother to Lynda, always putting her first and devoting herself to Lynda’s recovery. Catherine is never an unlikable character, but you may find yourself thinking she is a doormat at times because of some of her actions. For instance, Catherine feels guilty through the book because she made Lynda take the sweater that caught on fire and burned her. It makes no sense, and Catherine never really deals with it.
Rick Sawyer is the firefighter assigned to serve as Lynda’s burn counselor. He’s strong, confident, and a laid back sort of man. He knows what he wants from life and is happy with what he has. When Rick meets Catherine, he’s impressed with her strength and dedication to her daughter. Despite his professionalism, he becomes more involved with Lynda and Catherine than is wise, and eventually falls in love with Catherine.
Rick and Catherine are the ultimate beta pair. Each is strong in a quiet way, but neither is overly dominant. Rick provides friendship, and eventually love for Catherine as she adjusts to her new life.
It would have been interesting to see a more in-depth handling of a teenager dealing with burns. Lynda had some difficult times, but it felt like a scratch on the surface of what a real teen might experience. She and Brian, the boy who saved her from being burned worse than she was, develop a sweet relationship which provides a nice sub-plot for the book.
This is a story that could easily have been depressing but thankfully wasn’t. Disguised Blessing might not as deep as it could have been, but it’s entertaining and not a bad way to spend an afternoon.