One Day to Find a Husband

Shirley Jump
July 2012, Series Romance
Harlequin Romance #4325, $4.99, 185 pages, Amazon ASIN 0373178212
Part of a series

Grade: B
Sensuality: Kisses

When I read the description on the back cover I was skeptical. Marriages of convenience in contemporary settings generally don’t work for me. While the first few pages were slow going, the author won me over and made me believe that a marriage of convenience under the circumstances she set up was believable. Better yet, this was an enjoyable read for me. While it’s the first book I’ve read by the author it won’t be the last.

Finn McKenna ran a top architectural firm in Boston until he became involved with the wrong woman. While he was planning a lifetime together she was busy stealing his clients. Finn’s struggling to get his firm back on top and thinks Ellie Winston holds the key.

Ellie recently moved back to Boston to manage her father’s successful architectural firm after he suffered a heart attack. Ellie’s experience is in building family homes while her father’s firm specializes in buildings such as hospitals. Ellie thought she would have no problems with the firm’s new project - a green hospital – until the lead architect quit. Finn meets Ellie at a party and suggests that his firm step in and work with her on the hospital project. Ellie isn’t interested until she realizes Finn can help her with a problem.

Several years earlier Ellie became waylaid on a business trip in China and became friends with a single Chinese mother. Ellie made numerous trips back to China to help her friend. When the friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Ellie agreed to adopt her friend’s daughter, Jiao. Jiao has been in a Chinese orphanage for months while the adoption is finalized. Things seemed settled until Ellie learns that despite her friend’s wishes, the Chinese authorities are holding firm to their “only married couples can adopt” policy. Ellie’s not willing to give up on the young girl, and offers Finn a counter-proposal: She’ll agree to his business proposition if he agrees to a marriage in name only until the adoption goes through.

The setup sounds a bit ludicrous, but the author made it work. I believed in both Ellie and Finn’s desperation and was touched by how essentially lonely they both are. Ellie and Finn live their lives for their work. Ellie doesn’t intend to give up her profession, but she wants to carve out a family with Jiao. Ellie and Finn go into the marriage firmly committed to a “name only” marriage but are surprised to discover how much they have in common.

I really liked both Ellie and Finn. Ellie is more than just another gorgeous heroine, although she is gorgeous. She’s serious about her job, takes her responsibility to her father seriously, but is also planning to have a family, even if it’s not your traditional family. I enjoy seeing heroes and heroines actually work and liked the scenes when Ellie and Finn work together on the joint hospital project.

This is the first of a trilogy featuring the McKenna brothers of Boston. While I enjoyed this I’m not sure if I will continue with the series. I didn’t care for the “happy-go-lucky” youngest brother and am not enthused about a book featuring him as hero. The middle doctor, a physician, made only a brief appearance so I don’t have an investment in him. However, if I knew that Ellie and Finn and Jiao were going to play a prominent role, I would continue with the series just to catch up on their lives. And I will definitely look for other books by the author. I liked this.

-- LinnieGayl Kimmel

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