I don't know what took me so long to review this one since it was SUCH a joy to read. The previous book by Serena was a bit of a miss for me but this one made me remember how much I enjoyed everything else I've read by her and of course I'll read anything else she puts out (already marked to read her next one "Hold on Tight")
Ana is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic. She arrived at the US with her family when she was a small child with a legitimate visa but unfortunately as her mother got sick and died she failed to file the papers to renew their visa so Ana and her two older siblings became illegitimate. Since Ana was pretty small when she arrived at the US she always saw herself as an American and she wasn't about to jeopardize being deported back so she and her family did what they could to survive. Ana tutors Spanish in School and also have classes for English as a second language.
All in all she has work, she has a close family but one thing she can't have is a relationship, love. She tried dating but it didn't work out.. once the guy learnt of her legal situation he disappeared and besides the heartache of being dumped there is always the chance someone would tell on her and her family and they would all get deported. After 20 years of living in the US she feel her luck might be running out as a new regulation in school (where she gets most of her students to tutor) asks her to write down all her personal information including her social security number - the one she doesn't have. Her boss at school offers to "help her out" and makes a very nasty move at her. Struggling to free herself from his grasp she is saved by Ethan who came to the office looking for a Spanish tutor for his teenager son.
Even though Ethan is the one who rescued Ana from a very bad situation he feels like he is the one being rescued and he isn't even sure why. Ethan is a known and appreciated doctor, but his life isn't so perfect. The one thing, the one person on his top priority list - his son - doesn't get along with him and as the time goes by he doesn't know how to reach him and the one woman he loved died a few years back from cancer leaving him to deal with raising their son alone.
As it seems Ana and Theo get along from right about the first minute they met, and when Ethan finds that out he is very impressed by her. Seeing how good she is with his son but also how confident, creative, funny, interesting and sexy she is makes sure that not so slowly but surely - he falls for her. But she is sending him mixed messages. He feels like she want him as well yet she rejects him and he doesn't understand why.
Ana is falling for Ethan but she can't bring herself to tell him the truth and when he finally finds out and even when he has a way to help her their road to happiness is filled with obstacles.
Ana and Ethan's love story is simply beautiful. They come from different worlds yet they are perfect for each other. And even though I'm NOT a fan of books with kids Theo is just amazing. I felt he was an "authentic" teenager pulling stunts and having stupid fits of anger, yet he also has a sensitive side Ana helps let loose. There are great scenes of father and son - happy, sad, funny - the relationship just felt so genuine. He wasn't "in the way" of Ana and Ethan's romance it was somehow entwined together.
See this quote for an example:
Theo grumbled under his breath.
"Not very romantic," Theo muttered.
"You have to trust me. I have more life experience that you do."
Theo glared at him. "Doesn't seem to have done you much good so far."
I love happy endings but I usually don't need a full disclosure of a HEA. I'm OK with a suggested one. So I was nearing the end and I had this stupid happy smile on my face when the chapter was over, I took a breath and released it, pressing on the kindle to see the marking of the end of the book and hey! there's another chapter! Well, I'm was happy but I am willing to get happier you know? so I got to the end of the chapter and I was surely happier! Pressing for the last time to get to the last page - oh! there's an Epilogue as well! :D
Well, I just have to say that even though their romance took it's time and even though her family was making it hard for her to be happy with Ethan I just loved how it all concluded. Happy ending all the way. Ana, Ethan and Theo as well, all deserved it and sure got it!
I'm going to end with something really mussy which is SO not my style but I feel like I have to, so here we go -
" The older your kids got the more they needed you. Not some parent, any parent, but you, specifically. When they were babies, anyone could hold them, feed them, comfort them. But as they got older, went to school, and fell under other influences, only you could finish the job of shaping them. Only you could give them the guidance they needed. Even if they seemed to reject it. Even if they seemed not to be listening. "
I don't think I ever thought about it like that. I guess my psychology background tend to see it the other way around. But when I read it and really thought about it I realized how truthful this sentence is and how much my parents mean to me. Naturally first think I did was recommend this one to my mother and I'm really glad she already started reading it today :)
Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 323 pages, 5-8 March 2014 / On GoodReads