A unique feature in this touching novel is that the heroine uses "fictional" heroines from earlier Chapman novels as role models. For longtime fans, this adds extra fun to what is genuinely a charming story of love, growth and trust.

To his family and the world at large, Alex Knight perished in an overseas attack in South America. Alex was a widower with two young children, so his father and brothers fear a custody battle with Alex's former in-laws. Their solution is to have Alex married by proxy -- before he's declared dead -- to Sarah Banks, their new housekeeper. Despite her misgivings, Sarah goes along with the scheme because of her love for the children. No one is prepared for the consequences when a very much alive Alex turns up weeks later.

Survival and getting home have been the only things on Alex's mind; discovering he has a new "wife" is shocking. What has Alex's father gotten him into? Both Alex and Sarah have endured bad marriages. Dare they take an emotional risk on this one?

(Jul., 384 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith