cover image Dear Emily

Dear Emily

Fern Michaels. Zebra, $5.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8217-4952-4

Michaels (Serendipity) comes back to romance with a knockout story about a woman whom many readers will immediately recognize. Emily Thorn married her college sweetheart and temporarily shelved her education and career to support her husband's. Patiently, she waits for her turn, but her husband, Ian, always needs Emily's support for some bigger, better goal. Years later, Ian leaves and a 40-plus Emily realizes she has been used as a doormat. She's frightened, angry and so physically out of shape that her prospects for any future romance are dim indeed. And she's convinced it's all her own fault. Michaels gives Emily all the likely emotional baggage but also the determination to take charge of herself and her life. Emily sells off some of her assets, hires Ben, a 40-plus personal fitness trainer, and rents the rooms in her house to seven single, working women. Her plan is to open a string of women's physical fitness centers-where mature women won't be intimidated by Spandex-encased perfection. Ben proves to be a hunk with a brain and is instrumental in making the plan work and in showing her that she is still a very desirable woman. Michaels shines at molding strength, weakness, guilt and pride into one sharply believable character-a woman who will appeal to first-time readers and devoted fans. (Apr.)