This Very Moment by Rachel Ann Nunes
Reviewed by Jennie Hansen
Readers have come to depend on Rachel Nunes for books that hold their attention while providing a satisfying romance with a touch of international flavor, the kind of books readers enjoy curling up with on a winter evening before a cheery fire, cups of hot chocolate at their elbows. But This Very Moment is more than a love story; it goes a sensitive step further as Sister Nunes introduces children with unique needs, children who are dependent on the kindness of strangers to enable them to live their lives without painful disfigurement.
Kylee Stuart is a professional fund raiser for various charities. Her work has taken her all over the world where she has established a reputation for honesty and for working only for reputable charities. In the process she has accumulated both an A and a B donor list, has accumulated top service providers such as the chef who prepares the fabulous menus for fund raising banquets, and of necessity has acquired a wardrobe of evening gowns and shoes to wear to the functions she organizes for the well-heeled philanthropists to attend. Most important, she supports only those causes, she personally believes in.
In her personal life, Kylee suffered greatly when her husband abandoned her, leaving her wary of future relationships with men. With the break-up of her marriage and the death of her own child, she devotes her time and energy to securing a better future for children who have been born with disfiguring birth defects or who have been physically marred by serious accidents such as fires. Though her work is rewarding, she is lonely and seeks to make contact with an old friend. To her horror she learns the friend died five years ago in a train accident two days after marrying her longtime fianc.
The widower, Bill Duprey is a plastic surgeon who fled his native France to setup his medical practice in America and thus escape the tragic death of his bride. He initially construes Kylee’s attempt to contact his wife as an attempt to use her name and death to raise funds for one of her charities which angers him a great deal and he sets out to teach Kylee a lesson. The misunderstanding is resolved quickly and their previous friendship is renewed.
Kylee’s faith helps her deal with the losses in her life, but as she senses she may be falling in love with Bill, she has to examine her faith and question whether or not she can risk a relationship with a man who doesn’t believe in God. Her husband hurt her seriously through a lack of shared values, and she doesn’t want to leave herself exposed to that kind of pain again.
Bill denies his feelings for Kylee and refuses to admit to himself that she might be more than a friend. He’s determined not to love again since doing so would expose him once more to the pain he suffered when his wife died. He also refuses to operate on Kylee’s children, preferring the lucrative field of cosmetic surgery to the emotional involvement of working with disfigured children. His wife’s death left another legacy as well. He was badly burned in the train accident himself, and the horrible pain he endured distracted him from going to his wife’s aid, leaving him with a load of guilt and a fear of allowing anyone to depend on him.
Nunes has researched this book well and shows convincing insight into the world of fund raising and reconstructive surgery. Not content with the technical realities of these fields, she delves into the emotional aspects as well. The children in this book are guaranteed to touch hearts.
Though predominantly a romance This Very Moment goes beyond being a story of a man and woman falling in love and facing obstacles to their love. Bill has his own story of discovering God, and Kylee is personally and professionally staggered by an incredible betrayal. Then there are the lonely, hurt children with faces so hideous, most people look away, who only want to be like other children.
There’s an element of predictability to the story, but that is what draws readers to romance novels, whether main stream or LDS. Romance readers, who are primarily women, have exhibited a need for stories they can trust to provide happy endings. It wouldn’t be a romance if the principle male and female characters didn’t finally get together in the end. Readers know the characters will overcome their individual problems along the way and Sister Nunes does an excellent job of outlining her character’s differences and providing believable resolutions to those problems. What Nunes doesn’t do is insult her readers by providing a warm, fuzzy resolution to every negative situation in the book.
Nunes touches on several doctrinal points as she tells of Bill’s journey toward faith in God, but she moves Bill’s story too quickly from denial of God’s existence to full conversion. I would have liked to see this aspect of the story developed a little more fully. I found Kylee’s return to a burning building out of character for such a strong, sensible woman. Bill’s return was foreshadowed so thoroughly the reader knew it was something he had to do, but Kylee’s reason was merely an excuse to get her there.
“This Very Moment was an enjoyable read, the kind of book that when the last page is turned, the reader gives a sigh of contentment and begins looking forward to Sister Nunes’s next book. Fortunately readers won’t have to wait long. Ties that Bind is scheduled for release within the next few weeks.
2002 Meridian Magazine. All Rights Reserved.