by Wendy Hobday Haugh from the April 15, 2013 issue
Tagline: After meeting Carrie Hanson, Joe was ready to take a new chance on love...
In a Nutshell: Joe takes his daughter and her best friend to the town carnival. He's intrigued by the pretty woman painting faces. When the girls insist he get his face painted too, he works up the courage to ask her out.
Observations: Here is Americana in the form of a carnival or fair. I think I've said before that reading a Woman's World romance is sort of like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting, but with modern touches. For instance, I don't think they painted kid's faces in Rockwell's day.
Anyway, I think this story worked because we get so close to Joe, the hero. We get to see him having a great time and being a fantastic father, but we also see his vulnerability, which is irresistible to me. When a guy lets his guard down, I go all weak-kneed. And then he puts himself on the line and asks her out. You can't help but find yourself rooting for him.
I thought the last line, referring back to a line the love interest says earlier in the story was wonderful.
"There were too many kids waiting for me to bring out the lion, tiger and fairy princess in them."
At the end of the story after she's accepted his invitation to dinner, we read:
Smiling, he drew a deep breath, leaned back and let his inner lion roar.
Photo by slightly everything (cc)