The cover is deceptive - this book was originally published in 1987, and it shows. It has all the over-blown character and plot that turned me off romance novels for 20 years after I read the likes of Lace and Princess Daisy - there is the unloved but beautiful heroine with the ugly duckling complex, the gay man coming out of the closet, the almost-incestuous father figure, the selfish man-eating older woman, the hero hiding the secret hurt. Blah. Although written as a contemporary novel, this one is rapidly becoming historical fiction, for the 'old-school' writing style (and the complete lack of technology). I skipped parts, and almost couldn't finish it, but struggled through. I now know to check the date of original publication for SEP books, and not to buy anything first published before about 2000.Fortunately, SEP has improved greatly with time. I have really enjoyed her more recent books, particularly Match me if You Can and Nobody's Baby But Mine. So read her modern books by all means, but give this one a miss.