Serena Bell

RECOMMENDED READING: Yours to Keep, by Serena Bell

Yours to KeepReviewing isn't for me. There are bloggers and even other authors who do a much better job of it. However, I'm as much a reader as I'm a writer. When I finish a book I love, I launch into Book Evangelist mode and tell everyone I know about it. Every once in awhile you'll get a recommendation from me on this blog.

Here goes...


Yours to Keep - Serena Bell

Full Disclosure: Serena is a friend, and I've been wanting to read her first full-length novel since she told me about it at RWA. I made a big mistake when I picked up Yours to Keep at 8 PM last Sunday because I didn't put it down again until I was done. I got very little sleep that night, and Serena graciously bore the brunt of my Twitter blame the next morning because she is both kind and very tolerant. Ana Taveres is an undocumented immigrant who has spent most of her life in the US. She makes her living tutoring high school students and teaching ESL classes. Dr. Ethan Hansen is the father to a teenage boy, Theo, who needs help catching up in his Spanish class. He hires Ana after rescuing her from a school administrator who is sexually harassing her. The attraction between Ana and Ethan is immediately apparent. While Ana resists getting involved with Ethan at first, a good portion of the book is about how they become a couple and  handle the difficulty of Ana's immigration status and the different worlds they live in.
This book works for me on a lot of levels. I love Serena's writing, and it doesn't hurt that there's plenty of steaminess  in Yours to Keep. However, what really impressed me is the depth of Ana's character. Yours to Keep addresses the issue of her undocumented status head on and doesn't shy away from the difficulties and fear it causes in her life. Her status is also a main cause of conflict with Ethan, and you feel that their relationship really is at stake. Even better, you get to watch Ethan's devotion deepen as he fights for their happily ever after.

So that's my recommendation this week. What are you reading and loving?