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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Rachel Laine, the third book in The Women of Merryton series, is written by Jennifer Peel. It had been eight years since Rachel Laine’s twin sister, Sydney, had died in childbirth. Rachel had adopted Sydney’s baby, Drew, and raised him as her own. When baseball star and former pitcher for the Bears, Andrew Turner, comes to Rachel’s office asking to see Sydney, he is shocked to find out that she had died while giving birth to his son. The last time Andrew had seen Sydney, she had walked out of his life when he disputed the paternity of her unborn baby. Andrew now wants to be a part of Drew’s life - something Rachel feels furiously threatened by since Andrew originally wanted nothing to do with the baby. But as Rachel gradually introduces Andrew into Drew’s life as a family friend, she witnesses for herself what type of man he is. Rachel often wonders if it were not for the fact that Drew was her adopted son, whether she would loathe Andrew so much. As Drew grows fonder of Andrew, Rachel ponders whether telling her son the truth about his father would enhance their relationship or whether Drew would choose his father over her, resulting in a legal battle for custody. Rachel also questions her own loyalty towards her sister for having romantic feelings for Andrew, which is not made any easier by the fact that her parents loathe every part of his being. With both her future and Drew’s at stake, Rachel treads carefully while trying to determine what their future holds.
Jennifer Peel certainly knows how to pen a mighty fine romance! Even with the tragic circumstances involved, I loved that Rachel always put Drew’s well-being and happiness ahead of her own, even refusing to date, focusing solely on her son. A one-night stand between Rachel’s twin sister and a stranger creates a life which changes Rachel’s destiny - a storyline which left me eager to discover if she would allow the child’s father to change her life yet again. Each of the characters in the story has an incredible depth which creates a realism which I have not yet seen before. Now and then, the main character would reminisce about her life before Drew was born and the changes after he had come into her life. I found it amusing that Rachel was afraid to say that her sister was beautiful for fear that others might think her vain (as they were twins). I will be reading Rachel Laine again and again, as well as seeking out the other books in The Women of Merryton series, as it is rare to find complex romance tales which are so well written. I very much enjoyed Rachel Laine and recommend it to those who enjoy an intricate blend of humor, drama, tragedy and love which results in an extraordinary romantic adventure.