Review

Tidings of Great Joy

by Sandra Brown



Please, please, please. If I ever find passionate love with a
smart, kind, considerate man, may I never look it in the mouth. May
I never try to run from it. May I never mistake it for lust or
refuse to accept it for what it so clearly is. May I never be as
stupid as the heroine of TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY

Love-at-first-sight. That's what happens when Ria Lavender meets
Taylor MacKensie at a house party on Christmas Eve. Love is
disguised as lust as the two share a one-night stand. Simple
enough. Until two months later when Ria finds out she's pregnant by
a man she barely knows. At first, Taylor is reluctant to
acknowledge that he is the father. But he comes around eventually
and the couple strike a bargain. They'll marry to legitimize the
baby and save Taylor's political image as mayor-elect. After the
baby is born, they'll divorce and work out an amicable custody
arrangement.

But on the wedding night, Ria realizes that their passion for one
another is alive and well. No agreement was made on sex or falling
in love. Brown uses thorough character development to explain the
mindsets of both Ria and Taylor as they enter into the marriage.
Two fairly young people in the late 1980s on their way up in the
world. Poor judgment nearly trips them up, but they rise to the
occasion, determined to deal with the consequences of their
actions.

They move in together, further entwining their lives. Over the next
few weeks, they enjoy a honeymoon-like relationship, adjusting to
each other's schedules, sharing rides, and greeting the local
media. Throughout, Ria keeps reminding herself of the original
agreement, planning to add on to her house for the baby and
refusing to consider a relationship with Taylor:

"Endearments were only exchanged in bed at the height of passion.
If she was tempted to express her growing affection for him, she
reminded herself that their marriage was temporary and that it
would be better in the long run to keep her feelings to
herself."

Taylor on the other hand, is going with the flow. He showers her
with attention and affection. The baby is also very important to
him and he takes an active role in the pregnancy. As he begins to
realize the extent of his feelings for Ria, their already fragile
relationship falls apart. Ria miscarries. Her disappointment causes
her to shut Taylor out and she attempts to move out the next day
and resume her old life.

This is a difficult obstacle for an ordinary couple --- much less
two people who are just getting to know one another. Taylor, unable
to convince her of his growing affection, uses his career to
persuade Ria to stay. Over the next several weeks, he showers her
with affection, attempting in every way (save the simplest one) to
show her how he feels

It takes a ruthless ex-girlfriend and an inopportune moment to
bring Ria's feelings out. The fallout from this causes both parties
to be honest about their intentions toward one another.

Brown moves the story along at a quick pace, unfolding it over a
short period of time. However, she makes the reader feel as though
they know the characters personally. All in all, TIDINGS is an
interesting look at how two modern people take responsibility for
the consequences of their actions. It's just the light, short read
you need to pick you up after the holidays have worn you
down.

Reviewed by Sofrina Hinton on January 23, 2011

Tidings of Great Joy
by Sandra Brown

  • Publication Date: November 2, 1999
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance
  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam
  • ISBN-10: 0553576003
  • ISBN-13: 9780553576009