Hold Me Close and Closer Still
by Marion Catterall

"He stood at the end of the stage only yards from where I was stood, and he started a dance move – two small steps to the right and two small steps to thee left while holding his hands at shoulder height and moving gently to the rhythm. His eyes never left mine, and the electricity I felt was so strong. He beckoned me to copy his little dance routine. "

Introducing herself as a 44-year-old retired widow with two grown children and a permanently injured hip, the narrator of this story is a woman adrift. Because she is retired, must use a crutch to walk, has a vacation home in Spain in addition to her home in England, has two grandchildren already, and seems nervous about doing things like traveling alone, there are times when Christine seems much older than just 44. To be fair, though, the story takes place over the course of several years, quickly losing track of the narrator's age in the involvement of the story and the hip does eventually get better. There are also moments when Christine is quite modern in her attitudes toward relationships, sex, and her approaches to life.

Realizing the limitations that have shaped her life thus far, Christine pushes herself beyond her comfort zones in more ways than one. Surprising even herself, she is swept off her feet by a wealthy French musician, enjoying their casual courtship even as she spreads her wings and reacquaints herself with both her English and Spanish neighbors. Things get complicated when she learns her French fling wants something much more serious. They get even more complicated when she meets his brother, discovering her feelings for both men are equally strong for different reasons.

As a romance, the book delivers several steamy scenes that tease at the explicit; however, it is difficult to get in touch with the character. The focus of the book is on the events of the character's relationships with other characters. It is refreshing to find a more mature heroine in a romance novel and to find a romance that is not in any hurry to meet some arbitrary external deadline.

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