Never Too Late for Love
by Monica Jackson
(Arabesque/BET, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 1-58314-107-3
Dr. Jason Cates was introduced in the spring of 1999 in Monica Jackson’s A Magical Moment. The 55-year-old cardiovascular surgeon dropped in to visit his daughter, Taylor in Atlanta. There, he met his daughter=s 47-year-old roommate and surrogate mother, Tiffany Eastman.

Tiffany was the long-suffering wife of psycho politician Sidney Eastman in Heart’s Desire. Congressman Eastman is gone and, in A Magical Moment, Tiffany=s healing continued. When Never Too Late for Love begins, Tiffany has left Atlanta for a new job in St. Louis.

It was Jason who lobbied for her to get the job with a women’s service agency. It was Jason who suggested that she stay with him until she found a place of her own. It is Jason who is beginning to have second thoughts.

Once Tiffany arrives in St. Louis, things are not as she expected. There is a very funny reunion scene between Jason and Tiffany. She gets to meet the “upstanding, churchgoing, inflexible, authoritarian and controlling” man his only daughter had once described to her.

Jason is a widower. More than three decades ago, Diana Cates, his childhood sweetheart died in the house she loved giving birth to Taylor and her twin sister who also died. Jason was left alone to raise six small children. Tiffany is the first woman to stay in the shrine of St. Diana or, as Jason refers to it, “Diana’s house.” Confusion and guilt accompany Jason=s initial reaction to Tiffany and her presence there.

Before the two have had a chance to get to know each other, passion overtakes them and they become lovers. Things progress well between the two until several disturbing incidents resurrect Tiffany’s insecurities and old demons. And, while much is made of Tiffany’s story, Monica Jackson tackles the ghosts that haunt Jason Cates as well.

Never Too Late for Love, like the earlier books in the series, Heart’s Desire and A Magical Moment, tackle the sensitive issues of domestic violence, self-image and alcoholism head-on. Jackson uses this novel to tie up several loose ends from the romances in the series and in The Look of Love. Who would have thought that Dr. Jason Cates and Dr. Marvin Reynolds would be old friends and fishing buddies?

While Never Too Late for Love is a stand alone romance, I strongly recommend reading the other books mentioned above to enhance the reader’s appreciation of Tiffany Eastman’s evolution. As the author says in her end notes: “I can think of few characters that deserve a second chance at love more than Tiffany . . . “

In the opening chapter of the novel, the author has created a lyrical comparison between the heroine and the character of the City of St. Louis that sets the scene. Never Too Late for Love is a mature, satisfying tale of romance between two Baby Boomers with eight children between them. I recommend it.

--Gwendolyn Osborne

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