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by Jude Deveraux

      Heroine:  plump

        Shallow, bitter, violently fat-phobic high society gal Berni has just gotten the shock of her life; which is to say, her death.  Before she can go to heaven she is charged with a task.  She must improve the life of one Nellie Grayson, a plump, loving spinster whose existence consists solely of caring for her selfish family members.  In exchange for a ticket to paradise, Berni must assure that Nellie marries the handsome Jace Montgomery and has the life of happiness that she deserves.

         However, Berni isn't interested in playing fairy godmother for poor Nellie, whom she assumes to be a superficial, selfish creature, and makes only a half-hearted attempt at her job before retreating into a "life" of luxury.  But the spirit is in for a rude awakening when she checks on her charge and realizes not only that she judged Nellie unfairly but that she *gasp* is actually beginning to care for the poor put-upon girl.  Suddenly Berni has to scramble to somehow repair the damage her own selfish irresponsibility has wrought.

        Can Berni pull off this Herculean task and bring the two would-be lovers together, or are she and Nellie each doomed in their own way?

   What worked for me:

        The concept of this story was a fun one.  Who doesn't love to root for an underdog and hope that their nemeses get their much-deserved come-uppance?

        And may I just say, thank heavens our heroine finally grew a spine!

        Size-wise Nellie was plump, and Jace had no qualms about it.

    What didn't work for me:

         This is another case where the fat phobia experienced by the main characters was too modern a sentiment for the day. Despite the rise of the willowy Gibson girl, much admired actress Lillian Russell still reigned in that era and was far more zaftig than 160-odd-pound Nellie, who would have been about the same size as Marilyn Monroe at her heaviest.

         There were some minor plot issues that stood out here and there, but I can't get into them without spoiling the story.


         Fans of Paranormals and American Historicals might like this Cinderella story. (Also see "Mountain Laurel", a novel about the hero's mother.)

         Warning: this book has some weight loss and features one steamy scene.

If you liked "Wishes" you might also enjoy "The Hero's Best Friend", "The Bride of Willow Creek", "Beckett's Birthright", "A Country Christmas", "No Ordinary Princess", "The Bluebird and the Sparrow",  or "Land of Dreams".

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