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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Let It Be Me by Laura Chapman is a funny, quirky romance that works. James Mitchell fell in love with a fellow student in the history department at his English university. So smitten was he that he followed Becca back to small-town Lincoln, Nebraska where he works as a history professor at the local university. James may not have a doctorate like the bulk of the department’s professors but he does have something none of the others do – good looks, charm, wit, an endearing English accent, and a best-selling book on history that has donors rushing to support the university history department. When Becca did the unthinkable and met, fell in love with, and married one of James’ colleagues, all James wants is to break his contract and “get out of Dodge”. James is desperate to return to England and put this whole sorry saga behind him but two things stand in his way. His head of department knows what a boon to the department this popular professor really is and she has no intention of releasing him from his contract early. Second, he has been commissioned and advanced for his second book by the University Press and he is already hopelessly behind in his submission of the manuscript. The department head decides to hire her daughter Ali Ferguson-Day to “babysit” James and ensure his book is produced as expeditiously as possible. So begins a working relationship fraught with tension and attraction that can only end in one of two spectacular ways.
I thoroughly enjoyed Let It Be Me, which is an unpretentious and simple romance but has characters that are full of interest and come alive for the reader. Author Laura Chapman has created two perfectly opposite characters who complement each other wonderfully well. Ali is an overachiever who, despite her abilities, has never managed to make her mark as an individual, and is always seen as her famous documentary-maker father’s daughter. James is an archetypal English professor reveling in his uniqueness and novelty factor in a small-town, mid-western university environment. Deeply troubled and although trying desperately to get himself fired, he still has the required scruples to ensure there are some lines he is not prepared to cross in his desire to be terminated. What he is really looking for only Ali can supply and that is the beauty of this story - when two disparate souls come together, both searching for something that they can ultimately only find in each other. I’m a sucker for a good romance anyway but what lifts this story above your average run-of-the-mill romance is the subject matter and the clear passion of the characters in their particular life’s choices. I particularly enjoyed the banter between the two sparring partners as they tried desperately to dislike each other but realized early on that there was an attraction that could not be denied. This romance will not change the world but, even just briefly, it may make you smile, chuckle, and shed a tear or two and at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all seek from the romance novels we read. This one is a real winner and I can highly recommend it.