The Sweetheart Deal is a happily unpredictable novel about one clever woman, her by no-means supportive family, and a romance she is determined to deny.
Ellen Hamilton is perhaps a trifle more self-possessed than the average young woman of the fifties…and perhaps her goals are somewhat different. She’s been raised to ‘take over the company’ but didn’t. She’s tough enough to withstand a bossy, manipulative father and to stand up for the brother. And, she’s heart-broken, whether she admits it or not.
Readers will be intrigued by Ellen from the first few pages; nothing about her life or story is predictable. We meet her ‘ex’ John and can understand her attraction; but also grasp why she dismisses him. Being underhanded is unforgivable for Ellen, and here he is, ‘up to something’ again.
However, its a story where strong minded characters rule: Ms. Morse does a wonderful job creating characters. Some of her secondary characters are wonderful for their growing animosity (and we have the fun of puzzling out their schemes), or then again, like amazing George, the engineer, for his understanding. All are believable and interesting. Even the dippy, slightly-too-southern Mom manages to be entertaining. The motivation of self-interest is shared from several different perspectives. The business wheeling and dealing is most definitely personal for all players, but the business deals are in fact, inextricable from the romance.
Funny, lighthearted moments are interspersed nicely. The fifties are there, in ladies white gloves or a gent’s slicked back hair but the setting never intrudes. The characters and their loyalty matters; not only to the story, but to the reader.
If I must complain, I’d have liked shorter flashbacks. They become too detailed and felt distant. Its a small complaint in what is overall, a riveting read.
A wonderful cast of characters, who are completely entwined in the events, deals and back-stabbing make The Sweetheart Deal a novel to remember. Do read! And just wanted to note: I simply love the cover.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.