Reviewer: Wendy Rucci
Title: Reading Between the Lines
Author: Rick Hamlin
Publisher: Howard Books (Simon & Schuster)
Release Date: September 2006
Genre/Sub-genre: Inspirational Fiction
Year/Setting: Present day, NY City
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: None
Rick's Website: None found
Flutist Elizabeth Ash and her friend Dorothy Hughes, an aspiring actress visit a neighborhood rummage sale, given by local thrift shop owner, Mrs. Halliday. Here Elizabeth discovers some great historical romances, books by author Harriet Mueller. When Elizabeth starts to read these novels, she finds the great romance not in the story itself, but "Between the Lines", in words written by a woman to her husband in the margins of the books pages. As Elizabeth reads the womanís words, she tells her friend Dorothy that she feels like she knows the couple, and that she wants to return the books to the womanís husband.
In the meantime, Jim Lockhart, a casting director is having a difficult time dealing with his wifeís death about fifteen months previously. Every day, Jim says a prayer that he hopes will help bring him out of his despair. Jim knows the exact number of days that his wife Lois has been dead. He throws himself into his work in an effort to keep himself busy so he doesnít think so much about his wife.
As luck would have it, Jim needs to hire a woman for an acting job, and that woman turns out to be Dorothy. Dorothy, in turn, decides to introduce Elizabeth to Jim, thinking he would be perfect for her. Although Jim is skeptical about dating again, after meeting Elizabeth, he is interested enough in her to ask her out.
For a while things seem to be going well for Elizabeth and Jim. However, once Elizabeth learns that Jimís deceased wife was the one who wrote in the Harriet Mueller books, Elizabeth starts to feel that she is not worthy of Jim. She mistakenly thinks that Jim and his wife had the perfect marriage. Elizabeth starts to push Jim away without telling him the reason, and she decides she may leave town to work in Germany with Alberto, a man from her past.
Eventually, with a little help from Dorothy, Jim and Mrs. Halliday, Elizabeth comes to realize that she is not in competition with Jimís dead wife for his love and affection. She comes to the realization that she was going to run away to Germany because of her fear of being hurt.
This novel of love and second chances was a very good read. The characters were interesting and they made the story move quickly. It was easy to root for Jim and Elizabeth because they were very likeable characters. The only problems I had with the characters were with Elizabeth, who I thought was a little stubborn in her thinking that she wasnít good enough for Jim.
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