Deal of a Lifetime by Susan Napier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love you, Susan Napier. This is why you're my favorite Harlequin Presents author. What's wrong with being a career-oriented woman? What's wrong with being highly educated and working in the business world? What does that do for your dating chances and what sacrifices will you have to make?
Emma faces this situation and I cheered her along. I could understand what she was going through. Just because she liked children, could cook, and had an earth mother vibe didn't mean that was all she wanted in her life. I could understand the armor she used in a world where men are so comfortable calling the shots and forcing women to jump through hoops or prove they belong there. You have to be very careful about every word you say, every step you take. And yes, you do become paranoid. And better yet, Emma didn't have to give up anything to get her happy ending. She could be a career woman and she could love kids and want a family. Yes, you can do both.
I liked Frazer a lot. He had that teasing, arrogant in a good way vibe that Napier handles so well with her heroes. He only made me mad one time in this book for what he says to Emma about when Tom (his son) got sick. But I sure did cheer when Emma got him told. And he knew he was wrong for it and apologized and owned up to his vulnerabilities. He loved that Emma was a fierce woman who stood up for herself and knew how to handle herself. His courtship is a bit sneaky, but I didn't find him manipulative or undermining of Emma because of what he wanted with her or wanted her to be. He wanted her to be with him and be happy with who she was. The power plays don't have to dictate this relationship and I appreciate that they don't. Parity is so desirable in a man/woman relationship, and I love seeing this dynamic in a romance novel. Yes, yes, more HP books like this. Please write more, Ms. Napier.
I like the message here. Womanhood is not one thing. Womanhood is many things. A woman who handles her business doesn't have to be a Sex and the City heroine to be modern. If that shoe doesn't fit, then not every woman has to buy a pair and force herself into it. If her values don't fit that model, she is doing herself harm to force it onto herself. On the other hand, a woman can't suppress who she is deep inside because others want her to. In the office, be a professional, but be your own woman all the time. That's what I liked in this book, Emma coming to embrace who she was and not worry about what she wasn't. To me, that is the message behind feminism. Women having the ability to decide for themselves what they want in their individual lives, even if that doesn't look like the woman standing next to her, and especially not what men tell them they should want.
This was a very good book. Fun, enlightening, sexy, inspiring. I had read this before years earlier, and I appreciate it more as a woman in my 30s who has experienced some of those challenges in the career world that Emma deals with. This will definitely go on my faves list by this author and as a Harlequin Presents reader overall.
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