3 out of 4 stars
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Whilst it doesn't spark for originality, One Way or Another by Mary J. Williams is more than a mere romance and is written in a flawless style that proves to be a real page turner. That's the reason I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.
Calder runs a successful charity and is one of four Benedict sisters. Although born from different fathers, they're very close to one another. They all live in a mansion in New York, all beautiful, all rich, all famous and accomplished albeit in different fields. There's just one glitch. They're all single and looking for Mr. Right.
Adam Stone isn't part of New York's elite, but with his good looks and unique job, he can stand his own ground. He rescues Calder from a too-insistent suitor outside a nightclub. The next morning, they bump into each other again, in her home no less, and there's no doubt that some kind of chemistry is at work on both of them. Will it be enough to overcome Calder's trust issues ingrained by her mother's track record and by her high and mighty background?
As evident from the above summary, the story is nothing new. I personally have read it in several other books, and I'm not a fan of the genre. Still, it’s extremely well-written and fast-paced, with sizzling dialogues and redeeming qualities in the plot that have made me enjoy sticking to the end.
For one thing, there's the closeness between the four Benedict sisters. Their deep bond isn't one of blood. It's one of choice, given how they had to grow up by themselves and depend only on each other. They thrive and are at their best when they're together, and the author does an excellent job in describing this sparkling relationship. More than that, she makes readers care about all of them, to the point it feels like there are four protagonists instead of just Calder.
Another great addition is Mrs. Finch, the housekeeper. Although not a blood relation, she's clearly part of the family, recognized and appreciated by the four sisters.
Finally, there's Billie, Calder's mother. Her "Scarlett O'Hara Tomorrow is Another Day" personality permeates the entire storyline, even if she plays a marginal role. I like her freedom and her different choice of men. I like that she doesn't let age stand in the way of a new conquest. However superficial and vain she turns out to be, she’s the driving force behind her daughters' successes, and they can't help loving her despite all her faults. She has shaped them into what they are, and they've turned out pretty good.
In the end, this novel explores more than just romance. It focuses on family ties and on the importance of being loved and accepted for the person you are, of having a solid network covering your back that isn't necessarily defined by blood relations. Since it's a series, I presume these themes will be further expounded in the remaining three installments, so I recommend this book to anyone looking for a classic romance, without any surprises but with an amazing sense of family.
One Way or Another
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