As you may or may not know, I’ve been a fan of Marsha Cornelius’ work ever since I read the thrilling H10N1 (find the review here). Sure, it could have been the fact that I work with the flu virus that made that book so exciting, but I soon followed it up with her next work, The Ups and Downs of Being Dead (review here.) So, once I heard that she had a third book coming out, Losing It All, I knew I had to give it a try. The only problem was that it had a romance-type feel to it, of which I am not accustomed to reading. But, since I am working on overcoming my tendency to be a genre snob, I figured I should give it a try!
Losing It All tells the story of Frank Barnes and Chloe Roberts. Frank is a Vietnam veteran and a drifter, kindhearted yet down on his luck and accustomed to living on the streets. Chloe isn’t any better off as her husband abandons her and her children, leaving them to fend for themselves. She and Frank eventually meet randomly at a soup kitchen, with Chloe taking note of Frank’s kind manners and gentle actions despite his living conditions. Frank decides to help Chloe, who seems scared and awkward at her first trip to the soup kitchen. Although both decide that this chance meeting was just that, a brief encounter that wouldn’t bear repeating, both seem to find it impossible to forget the other. Sadly, a terrible accident leaves Frank badly injured, and it is many weeks later before he sees Chloe again, and she is in far worse shape than when he met her for the first time. Frank, on the other hand, finds a steady job and a place to call his own. Now that Frank’s luck has turned for the better, will Chloe allow him to help her and her children? What will become of these two battered individuals?
I have to admit that my self-imposed stigma against romance-themed novels was unfounded. I’ve come to find that I enjoy the part in most stories when two main romantic interests finally come together after many chapters of waiting. I’ve just never noticed it before. It’s funny how authors can write a plot line where most everyone knows that these characters will eventually end up together, yet there is a ton of enjoyment in getting to that point, waiting impatiently for the characters to realize that they are in fact perfect for each other. I guess that I was doing this all along, but it took Cornelius’s work (as well as some introspection) to realize that this is the case. In short, I really enjoyed this story. It had an engaging plot with plenty of sub-plots that kept my attention span. Cornelius’ characterizations are spot on, and I felt as if I was on the streets with Chloe and Frank at some points. The sense of pride that I felt for Frank for taking charge of his life and turning it around was definitely palpable. In all, this is a great and enticing story that will make you want to keep reading, even if it happens to be labeled as romantic-leaning.
5 out of 5 stars
Losing It All by Marsha Cornelius
eBook: 378 pages
Special thanks to Marsha Cornelius for my review copy!