ONLY YOU by Lorna Peel is a fabulous romance about trust in relationships under a microscope. In this case, under the ever-hungry, watchful eyes of the paparazzi. The novel encourages a "don't believe everything that you read" philosophy, which is especially important in this age of the Internet. I give it five stars.
Jane Hollinger is a former genealogist-cum-community college professor in London who is still attempting to gain her bearings after a bitter divorce a couple of years prior. Her genealogy course is attended by a bizarre/creepy-looking bloke named Mitch, but the truth is that he is a famous actor, Robert Armstrong, who has been researching an upcoming role while finishing the filming of another. Robert has uncovered a bit of a mystery in his own life and seeks assistance from Jane to resolve it. Through their work together, they build a friendship and share deeply personal information. They also have to deal with the attraction, for which Jane is not quite ready.
Between Robert's ill-advised publicity tactics and the stories printed by the paparazzi, including one paparazzo who impersonated a student to get info about Jane, Jane decides that she cannot handle a relationship in the spotlight. Robert, who is heading off to Ireland on another assignment, begs Jane to give him and their relationship another chance, but she decides against it. Robert falls into a downward spiral of PR nightmarish proportions, and Jane has to decide whether to risk being hurt again by intervening.
I really loved this novel. The length and pace were perfect, and the themes apropos for modern relationships. While so many people have trust issues, not many have to deal with those issues under a microscope. This couple has some serious challenges, and I felt like the novel was so well illustrated on the trust issue. I love that Jane finds her feet and breaks up with Robert before he goes to Ireland. It is such an important move for her and shows amazing personal growth.
I also love how vulnerable Robert is with Jane and how he fights for their relationship. Best of all, none of the character development is plagued with stereotypical, melodramatic fluff that so often ruins a great novel.
I loved how emotional the novel was. I laughed and I even cried a bit. And I especially loved the window into British culture--the language used, the scene descriptions, the industry illustrations. All were fantastic.
Overall, this was a fabulous novel. Put it on your reading list. It will not disappoint.
*Review originally written for The Romance Reviews.com at http://www.theromancereviews.com/viewbooks.php?bookid=10706.