cover image His Perfect Partner

His Perfect Partner

Priscilla Oliveras. Zebra, $4.99 mass market (330p) ISBN 978-1-4201-4428-4

Oliveras’s outstanding debut tangles romance into family life in present-day Oakton, Ill. Dancer and teacher Yazmine Fernandez left Broadway behind to care for her ailing father, Reynaldo. Single father Tomás Garcias and his young daughter, Maria, struggle to balance Tomás’s advertising career with Maria’s needs. Tomás is sure romantic love does not exist and is convinced his impulsive attraction to Yaz is a mistake. Though strongly attracted to Tomás in return, Yaz is still smarting from betrayal in New York and feels her duty to her father comes first. However, they inevitably draw closer as Yaz helps with Maria’s childcare and Tomás supports Yaz through her father’s illness. Helping each other leads them to reconsider their narrow ideas of the future, and to find love together. The realistic, multifaceted characters have interesting nuances, and Oliveras never stoops to employing contrived misunderstandings, instead creating real obstacles with meaning and depth. Moving familial relationships and splashes of Puerto Rican culture round out this splendid contemporary and bode well for the future of the series. Agent: Rebecca Strauss, DeFiore & Company. (Oct.)