Oh Susannah is published by Ponder Romance, a small Canadian company currently being sued by Harlequin. With its limited budget, Ponder is obviously the underdog in this scenario. Since I sympathize with Ponder’s plight, I really hoped I would like this book. Series romances with a Canadian focus sound like a great idea. Unfortunately, this one just isn’t very good.
Oh Susannah is about a young widow who buys a cabin in the country and takes her two boys there to start a new life. Susannah James had married young, and although she had a high-paying job as a bank manager, there are many things she has never learned to do for herself. When she moves to Lee River, Manitoba, she meets the extremely attractive Gabriel Desjarlais. Gabriel is a berry farmer who has long had the reputation of a heartbreaker.
Gabriel quickly begins to pursue Susannah in earnest. She finds him attractive, but doesn’t think he likes her. This doesn’t particularly makes sense since he always seems to be drooling over her. At any rate, her sons soon become very attached to him, and he spends more and more time with her family. But just when they seem to be on the verge of marriage, a tragedy occurs. Susannah is suddenly afraid to risk loving – and possibly losing – again. Will she change her mind? And if she does, will Gabriel still want her?
This is certainly a tale that’s been told before, but it still held some promise. The problem is the main characters; neither of them is very interesting. I never could see what their common interests were, other than their attraction for each other. They are both drop dead gorgeous, as the reader is reminded repeatedly, but that doesn’t seem like much to base a relationship on.
Susannah seemed like a child who needed someone to take care of her. This type of heroine has been outdated for some time. When she moved to Lee River, her only goal was to escape her old life. I spent half the book wondering how she was supporting her family since she had no job. Finally the author explained that her husband had a huge life insurance policy. Still, she just wasn’t very interesting.
Gabriel was no better. He had the unfortunate habit of making sexual innuendos in front of Susannah’s children, which made him seem smarmy. He also frequently barged into Susannah’s house without knocking, usually when she was wearing something skimpy. Since he seemed to have such a healthy libido, I was sure these two would at least have a hot love scene. No such luck – all they do is share a couple of kisses.
The rural Manitoba setting was not without interest, but unfortunately the characters just weren’t people I wanted to read about. Perhaps the other Ponder Romances are better than this one. I hope so.