Almost Mine
Diane Marquette
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Buy *Almost Mine* by Diane Marquette online

Almost Mine
Diane Marquette
Write Words, Inc.
292 pages
January 2007
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Thirty-year-old Helen Pratt has a great life. Assistant editor for her small-town newspaper, she has a great job, a best friend, Liz, and family who love her. She is happy, healthy, and content. But meeting Adam Montgomery, a handsome architect 13 years her senior, is about to make her great life a whole lot better.

Almost immediately, Adam seems too good to be true. He is kind, considerate, and a great listener. He is also divorced, with an 18-year-old daughter, Missy. Helen decides to make the best of the situation, but her first meeting with Missy is a disaster - the young woman is spoiled, selfish, and completely in control of her father's life. After a discussion with Liz, who reminds her that she is dating HIM, not THEM, Helen chooses to continue to see where the relationship will lead. A few months later, Adam proposes marriage, and they have a small, beautiful wedding.

Shortly after their wedding, Helen confides in Adam that she hopes they will have a baby. Adam's immediate negative reaction hurts Helen, but she persists in discussing how she feels. Adam eventually warms to the idea, and Helen blissfully begins to make preparations to expand their family. Before she can, however, Missy has news of her own - she is pregnant, and the father of her child wants nothing to do with the baby. Helen and Adam are shocked but offer their support, and when baby Joey is born, Helen finds herself in the role of step-grandmother before she has even been able to be a mother. Unaware of how deeply she will bond with Joey, Helen soon finds herself looking forward to every minute they spend together. When Joey's previously uninvolved father returns with intentions of taking the baby away, Helen and Adam must find a way to keep their newfound family intact.

Almost Mine's author, Diane Marquette, is a new novelist, and at times it shows. Her characters seem a one-dimensional - Missy is only spoiled and selfish, Adam is indulgent and clueless, Helen is perfectly kind and willing to sacrifice herself for everyone. The nuances of humanity seem to be missing in the characters, which makes them at times hard to believe. Marquette's writing style is pleasant and readable but doesn't stand out for its beauty or depth. The novel is easy to read, flows smoothly, and Marquette's dialogue seems natural but perhaps lacks the polish of a veteran writer.

The idea of the novel - a newly married woman finds herself a grandmother before she has had a chance to be a mother - is certainly interesting, and when Marquette sticks to the main plot she does well. However, she adds an odd subplot about a smarmy businessman trying to hit on Helen that seems forced and doesn't really add to the overall arc of the story. Additionally, I don't know if the copy I received was a pre-release galley or the finished novel, but there were a large number of simple grammar and punctuation mistakes that often distracted from the flow of the novel.

In general, however, Almost Mine is a quick, pleasant read. It suffers slightly from the inexperience of its author, but the story is solid and entertaining. I hope Marquette continues to write, because I think many of the flaws of this novel will be ironed out in her future work, and that would give readers something exciting to look forward to. This novel is recommended with reservations, but the author is one to watch.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Elizabeth Schulenberg, 2008

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