cover image Perfecting Kate

Perfecting Kate

Tamara Leigh, . . Multnomah, $12.99 (406pp) ISBN 978-1-59052-927-0

While Leigh adheres a bit too closely to the conventions of Christian romance fiction, her main character, Kate Meadows, charms and entertains as she chronicles her dates, work deadlines, self-improvement kicks and hormone replacement therapy. Like most Christian romance heroines, she has a sad backstory and a long list of insecurities. And like most Christian romance heroes, her leading man is serious, mysterious and very handsome. After enduring the requisite series of fiascoes and misunderstandings, during which the leading man becomes more and more taken by the heroine's quirky pluck, both decide to move past their private pain and potentially deal-breaking incompatibility and live happily ever after. Kate narrates this formula well enough, and her specific health struggles do add intrigue. Readers will also appreciate the authenticity of Kate's faith, but may groan when her leading man apologizes for initially rejecting her, having concluded that she is a "woman who can give me far more than she can't." Also off-putting is the "cured" gay man who, along with several other characters, is constantly critiquing every aspect of Kate's physical appearance. Still, Kate's love-hate relationship with a series of cosmetic procedures makes for a fun read, especially for Christian women who will appreciate the spiritual lessons Kate learns as she seeks physical transformation. (Feb. 20)