Verdict: Despite some incongruities and redundancies in word choice, "Her Dear and Loving Husband" is a story that successfully entwines mysterious elements of the paranormal with rediscovering a lost romance that will satisfy the romantic at heart.
“Her Dear and Loving Husband” is an alluring paranormal romance about Sarah Alexander, who has relocated from Los Angeles to Salem, Massachusetts, where she discovers James Wentworth and the secrets from both his and her past that will free her from the visions that plague her sleep.
Sarah Alexander, new to the town of Salem, works at the Salem State College library. James Wentworth is an English Professor who teaches night classes at the same college. His first encounter with Sarah is not at the college, but outside his house. Sarah is standing there and looking at the house that looks so familiar to her when James mistakes her for his wife – who has died many, many years earlier. Though Sarah does not know James, there is also something familiar about him, an attraction that draws her to him. Eventually, with the encouragement of her friend and boss, Jennifer Mandel, Sarah and James discover that they have had a life together to rediscover; a life that explains the dreams that Sarah has been having nightly. However before the two can rekindle their love, Sarah must first accept James’ secret and they must find a way to deal with Kenneth Hempel, a nosy reporter who is determined to prove that James is not the mere mortal he claims to be.
Author Meredith Allard constructs an effective plot, weaving in and out of past and present lives, allowing words and phrases to haunt you until the whole mystery behind the love story is revealed. Allard’s characters are also well rounded, revealing rich aspects of joy, anguish, compassion, fear and humor.
Though Allard uses many precise and poetic, sensual images, she relies heavily on the use of vague words like “pleasant”, or variations of “felt like” and “seems”, which detract from the flow and the effectiveness of an otherwise well constructed story. For example, on one page, Allard describes three different people by using the same general constructs with vague adjectives: “He seemed happy”, “Timothy seemed satisfied with the answer”, and then “James didn’t seem concerned.” Also, at times there are odd choices of adjectives, which diminish the power of the scenes. An example of this is Allard describing a tense situation in which James rushes to Sarah protectively to shield her from “the unwelcome presence”, which Allard then describes as “ridiculous” and “annoying”, though earlier in the scene he was obviously somewhat threatening.
Despite some incongruities and redundancies in word choice, “Her Dear and Loving Husband” is a story that successfully entwines mysterious elements of the paranormal with rediscovering a lost romance that will satisfy the romantic at heart.
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann