However, the rest of the book is great.
P.S I Love You by Barbara Conklin, the very first Sweet Dream Romance, published 1981. I hunted for this book in particular for years through every second hand book store and book fair, only to find it after my passion for the series (and romance novels) had disappeared.
Mariah is the shy and awkward 16-year-old girl with big plans to be a best-selling author and have all of the boys suddenly realise she’s amazing and lining up to ask her out. First, she has to write her book and she plans to do it over summer break. But Mum has other plans; she takes a house sitting job in Palm Springs, moving Mariah and Kim (the little sister) against their will.
As soon as they arrive, they meet Paul Strobe, the boy next door. He’s a real sweety (a little too sweet at times, but still, totally dreamy) and he gives Mariah a book (HUSBAND MATERIAL!!!!).
As they fall in love, things become complicated with Paul having to go into hospital for tests and then surgery.
There’s something off with the writing. The actions of the characters don’t flow, as if the author forgot to mention that “Mum is standing by the window” at the start of the paragraph, so I’m picturing “Mum sitting on the lounge”, then bam! at the end of the paragraph “Mum paces away from the window”. I found it jarring, which in turn, made it hard to settle into the story and follow.
The other problem was Mariah and Paul’s romance. That happened too quickly. Not enough time was given for them to develop trust and start sharing things; it was all suddenly “I love you” all over the place and lots of kissing. A bit more time and more banter and emotional responses (a LOT more of that, please) and it would’ve been great.
The good things;
The characters were consistent and well formed.
Paul was sooooooooooooooo sweet.
Mariah’s dream of being a writer and the little things she does (like going to the library and finding where her book would be put on the shelf and making a space for it) is very honest.
No “bad guy” to be defeated.
Isn’t focused on getting a boyfriend just for the sake of being “normal”. In fact, Mariah, though she is disappointed she hasn’t had a romance yet to use in her story, seems fine with being a single woman. A very nice change to the romance hungry teens portrayed in other Sweet Dream books.
And the overall fear of what’s going to happen when Paul goes to the hospital. This one had my stomach in knots for most of the story.
Unfortunately, not all of the Sweet Dreams that followed were this good (in my opinion). P.S I Love You is special and it was an honour to read it.