Jennifer--An O'Malley Love Story is a short, background story for one of the characters in Dee Henderson's O'Malley series. And yes, I have read the entire O'Malley series. They were the first Dee Henderson books I read, and to date are still my favorites.
So what is Jennifer all about?
It's a summer of change for Jennifer O'Malley. the busy physician has a pediatrics practice in Dallas, Texas, and meeting and falling in love with surgeon Tom Peterson is adding a rich layer to her life. She's sorting out how to introduce Tom to her family--she's the youngest of seven--and thinking about marriage. She's falling in love with Jesus too, and knows God is good. But that faith is about to be tested, and in a way she didn't expect. The results will soon transform her entire family.
Look, you get a picture this time! :D
First impressions? I loved it! It was a very sweet story.
I knew the outcome of this story because it is a tiny little prequel book to the O'Malley series, all of which I have previously read. I know the rest of Jennifer's story. It was still delightful to read this part of her life though.
Because it is a novella and not a full length novel, Dee Henderson doesn't go into a lot of depth throughout the story. We don't get to know a whole cast of characters. We have Jennifer and Tom and a handful of other names who pop in and out a few times when necessary to plot. Even so, Dee Henderson still manages to do what I have come to know her for: write vibrant, memorable characters that you won't soon forget. Even if they only have one scene.
The romance between Jennifer and Tom is sweet, perhaps even more so because I knew the later part of their story from the O'Malley series but did not know how their relationship came to be. It was delightful to watch their friendship blossom and turn to love.
This story is unlike the rest of the O'Malley series in that it doesn't involve crime and murder and suspenseful plot. The heart of this story is a gentle romance, and the main challenge is Jennifer's decision what to believe about God. She is not a Christian when the book begins, like every other O'Malley in their respective books, and the unique journey she goes on to find the truth is profound and yet simple. Dee Henderson weaves these two elements, the sweet love story and the simple faith in Jesus, throughout the novella in a rather winsome and delightful way.
Would I read this book again? Undoubtedly.
Would I recommend this book to others? Yes. Along with the rest of the O'Malley books.