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Meant to Be    by Edie Claire order for
Meant to Be
by Edie Claire
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2004 (2004)
*   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Meara O'Rourke is called to the bedside of her birth mother, after the latter and her new husband Mitchell Black are involved in a serious car crash. Meara is leery about seeing Sheila Black again -- their first meeting a few years earlier left her feeling cold and with no intention of a repeat encounter. But the urgency in the message she receives from the hospital prompts Meara to make the trip.

Sheila's mumbled words before she passes away shock Meara ... 'I was protecting you ... Rosemary died'. They once again raise nagging questions and suspicions about her parentage and early childhood. She's even more shocked to learn that she's inherited half of Laurel Ridge, a sprawling estate that Mitchell Black owned. It turns out that Black's cool and aloof son, Fletcher, has absolutely no intention of sharing, especially with an outsider. Meara assures him that she wants no part of her inheritance, only answers about how Sheila came to be at Laurel Ridge. Slowly Fletcher and Meara warm to one another. He comes to realize that they have much in common, and that she deserves his help, his trust -- and eventually his love.

Though the book is well written and the author drops enough mysterious tidbits about Meara's background to keep readers flipping pages, she stumbles as a character stylist. The story is written entirely from Meara's point of view, and its delivery is so dispassionate as to be almost clinical. Meara and Fletcher suffer stilted dialogue and their character development lacks the extra emotional depth needed to make a convincing romantic attraction. The believable family mystery surrounding Meara's background does rescue these lackluster main characters to some degree, but as a whole, Meant To Be is disappointing.

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