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Publisher: Warner Books
Release Date: June 2004
ISBN: 0446612782
Format Reviewed: Advance Review Copy
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Genre: Romance [Western Pennsylvania]
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Lynda E. Lukow
Reviewer Notes: Sexual content: Sweet (mild)

Meant to Be
By Edie Claire

     Despite having been raised by loving parents, Meara O'Rourke has always felt a certain emptiness that only the facts surrounding her adoption could fill. Her path to the truth, rekindled by her birth mother's dying declaration, is fraught with difficulty and deception.

     Fletcher Black is the epitome of a reluctant hero. He's sworn off women and chosen to devote his life to preserving the forest he expected to inherit from his father. But when Meara, the long lost daughter of his father's second wife, shows up, he's forced to re-evaluate all the values he's so closely held.

     Meant To Be is told entirely through Meara's eyes, giving readers a front row seat on the roller coaster ride of the heroine's moods. But readers are never left wondering about secondary characters. Ms. Claire does an outstanding job showing other characters' emotions and motivations, through conversations and Meara's observations of body language and facial expressions.

     Beautiful descriptions of the Pennsylvania countryside ground the characters in the real world. The romance plays second fiddle, but it's easy to understand why Fletcher and Meara eventually come together. Their kisses are hot, but the love scene is only an allusion.

     The intricately layered plot propels readers along Meara's journey; the author never reveals details before the appropriate time and seldom settles for banalities. Intriguing flashbacks, interesting tidbits, and emotional confrontations entice readers to turn the page. “Meant To Be” presents a paragon of superbly written, compelling women's literature.