This review is apart of the TBR Challenge 2010 that was established to help readers focus on those buried treasure reads that they’ve yet to discover from their massive tbr piles. The following review was submitted by fellow reader, Senetra. Please, make sure to visit the other participants in the challenge.
Kathryn Shay’s The Wrong Man for Her is a variation of a workplace romance, in that the work is as prominent a character as the hero and heroine, Nick Logan and Maddie Walsh. Three years ago Nick was the teen counselor at the Rockford Crime Victims Center, and he and Maddie dated.
Following a pregnancy scare, Nick told Maddie that he could never be good enough for her and took off. Now Nick is back as a favor to the previous director, and unbeknownst to him, Maddie will be his new boss. Once Nick discovers this, he feels slightly betrayed and wants to leave, but is convinced to stay. Things have changed since Maddie took over as director, and the changes don’t always fit with Nick’s work style, leading to a few clashes.
This book was definitely Nick’s story. When Nick was a teenager, his father was convicted of embezzlement and went to prison. The taunting and goading of his peers led to Nick acting out and getting into trouble, and in frustration, his mother, Claire, threw the 16 year old out of the house.
Nick spent the next few years on the streets, on drugs, and in jails, finally meeting up with adults who helped him get his life back on track. His experiences led him to become a teen counselor, even though he has been unable to open up to therapists about his past. Nick’s life is thrown into a tailspin once his mother and newly released father try to enter his life again.
Maggie had a home life that included an alcoholic mother who left Maddie to raise herself. Maddie is also a rape survivor, but she took advantage of counselors and worked at not letting what happened to her define her.
Learning how Nick was unable to continue with counseling, Maggie encourages him to try again. Maggie also didn’t let Nick’s leaving her stop her from dating again, or give up on her hope to marry and have a family someday.
The work that is done at the RCVC plays a large enough role in the interactions between Nick and Maddie that the Center is a character all its own. Nick’s work as a teen counselor puts the focus on his students, who have all been the victims of violence, such as bullying, random shooting, and a home invasion.
None of the kids have an easy time coming to terms with what happened to them, and this is mirrored in what is happening in Nick’s life now. A strong bond forms between Nick and JJ, the student who was the victim of bullying, and Nick’s attempt to help JJ makes him admit to himself that he needs more counseling even if he doesn’t have contact with his parents. Maddie’s attempt to help Kara, another victim, brings her memories to the forefront as well, which allows her to get to the truth about Kara’s problems.
The Wrong Man for Her is definitely an “issue” book, but unlike some books that attempt to deal with serious topics, none of the characters had resolutions to their problems at the end. There was no epilogue that showed everyone living happily ever after.
The students at the center had very real problems that couldn’t be solved in 275 pages, and while some students were left at a point where they could see an end in sight, other students were at a point where there seemed to be no way out. Nick had begun to communicate with his parents again, but we don’t know the outcome. Real life is like that sometimes, and I appreciated that. Yes, the topics were serious, and at times hard to read, but well worth the read. Grade: A-
Notes: The Wrong Man For Her by Kathryn Shay (2007), Harlequin Super Romance #1418, 288 pages, is currently out of print. No ebook could be found at the time of writing.