A Time to Mend, by Angela Hunt

Like my previous selection, Sandpiper Drift, I chose A Time to Mend specifically because I was exploring the sub-genre of “inspirational women’s fiction,” particularly the Steeple Hill imprint. This particular novel has a typical romance-novel plot structure: two strong-willed, independent souls strike sparks of all kinds when they meet in the hospital where she’s a nurse and he’s a doctor. They continually rub each other the wrong way yet can’t ignore the attraction between them. Each has painful secrets in their past that stand in the way of a new relationship — and of course there’s no doubt in the reader’s mind that those obstacles will be overcome by the final page. Oh, and of course she’s pretty and he’s gorgeous. No surprises there.

However, I’d consider A Time to Mend sort of romance-novel-plus, the “plus” being a really thorough, detailed and sensitive portrayal of a young woman’s battle with breast cancer. The medical aspect of the novel — a nurse who works with cancer patients discovers that she herself has a malignant tumour — is far more compelling than the romance, which did feel a little formulaic to me. This was an enjoyable read and if you like inspirational romance I’d definitely recommend it, but it was the cancer story that made it memorable for me.

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