Dashing strangers, cute dogs, lovable babies, and horrid ex-husbands make up the basics of All the Finer Things by Stephanie Connelley Worlton. What could have been a silly and predictable romance novel, is instead an enjoyable and thoughtful read.
All the Finer Things is the story of Megan, a young bride married to a wealthy surgeon. She has all the material possessions her heart could want and a darling baby boy. But as the story opens we discover that her abusive husband will stop at nothing short of breaking his spirited bride into a subservient trophy wife.
She endures one last beating at his hands, takes their baby, and leaves him. She drives away from the privileged life she knew and finds herself in a small ranching town miles from the big city. That’s where she meets Ammon, the rugged and handsome Scoutmaster next door. His lovable but troublesome dog does his best to make sure Meg and Ammon have plenty of chances to get to know each other better.
Worlton’s book could almost fall into the “sweet dog romance” genre, but thankfully (at least in my opinion) doesn’t. The “sweet dog romance” tends to be frilly fluff without much substance or adventure to the story. The story digs deeper and has too many interesting storylines to be shelved away under that simplistic category.
It’s not a straight-up romance novel, where you know from the very introduction of the characters who will fall in love, and who will get their come-uppance. In some respects it could be exactly that. But this is also the story of an abused woman who takes control of her life, and instead of expecting others to fix her problems, makes her own solutions. She works hard and does what it takes to take care of herself and her baby.
The almost predictable romance is harangued by the obvious and simple fact that Meg is married. She may be married to an abusive jerk, and deserving of the love and affection of a good man, but that doesn’t make her any less married. It’s not a predictable romance when the story features a good Mormon man and a married woman, but it’s still a satisfying romance.
Stephanie Connelley Worlton lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains where she enjoys frequent opportunities to observe nature and feed her creative spirit. She has been blessed to be a stay at home mom to her four children, many of whom share her artistic tendencies.
All the Finer Things is available as an e-book and paperback from Amazon.