The House on Briar Hill Road
Harlequin Everlasting, Oct 2007, $5.25
Nurse Hayden McNulty knows her best friends are Brian Conway and his mother, Kathleen. They are her family in every sense except biological. When Kathleen informs them she suffers from breast cancer, Hayden and Brian worry about their “mom”. This leads them to seek solace which turns into making love for the first time and she gives birth to a daughter Livie, but rejects his pity proposal. Kathleen recovers
Eventually Brian marries and moves to California, but ultimately gets a divorce as he never forgot Hayden, who he wants to marry because he loves her. He decides to try to convince her they belong together because of their love for one another. As she considers accepting his offer, Kathleen announces the cancer has returned.
THE HOUSE ON BRIAR HILL ROAD is a fascinating relationship drama that is a serious take on When Harry Met Sally even though they met much younger as preadolescents enjoying Halloween. Hayden and Brian are nice people who care for one another so much so they hide their not sibling love from the other so as to insure their friendship survives that is until Livie is born, changing the dynamics though a minor player. However, what makes Holly Jacobs’ contemporary a delightful read is the author avoids turning the story line into a melodramatic soap opera driven solely by mom’s battles with cancer; instead Kathleen, like her son and “adopted” daughter, is three dimensional so readers sympathize and root for her to conquer the illness. This is a strong character driven drama in which the romance enhances the relationships.