Title: The Sweetheart Deal
Author: Allison Morse
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Romance/Historical Fiction
Reviewed by: Ella Vincent, Pacific Book Review
The Sweetheart Deal mixes romance and business in an enjoyable novel. Allison Morse’s writing brings the 1950’s alive with a modern twist.
The Sweetheart Deal focuses on Ellen Hamilton, the daughter of a powerful business magnate in the small town of Pitney. Ellen is a librarian, but is drawn back into the family business of manufacturing after her lost love, John Adair, comes into town intent on a hostile takeover of her family business. As John fights McCarthy-esque accusations about stealing designs from a former employer, Ellen strives to gain respect as a female executive in the Mad Men-like world of Hamilton Manufacturing. While they battle in the boardroom, Ellen and John also battle the sexual tension they feel towards each other when they’re reunited.
Allison Morse’s writing makes The Sweetheart Deal a fun and refreshingly feminist novel by making Ellen a feisty protagonist who stands up against the sexism she encounters among her family and co-workers while she’s an executive at Hamilton Manufacturing. The novel also makes her a sympathetic and strong character when she deals with her conflicting feelings for John that adds to the complexity of the novel. John is also a dashing male lead, but has doubts and insecurities that plague him and make him a three-dimensional character.
The Sweetheart Deal addresses the paranoid time of the 1950’s with an astute accuracy. The setting of a small town during the Communist witch-hunts gives the novel a weighty drama that imparts an important message about the consequences of unfounded gossip and accusations. Pitney, California becomes a character in the novel in and of itself by showcasing the fraught relationship between John and the townspeople who view him as a corporate threat who will eliminate their jobs.
In addition to the social commentary, the novel has a light romantic banter throughout for balance. The sharp back—and forth between Ellen and John will remind readers of a classic Katherine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy movie.
The Sweetheart Deal would be perfect for readers who like light historical fiction that isn’t predictable. Readers will also love the book if they’re looking for a romance novel that isn’t the typical bodice-ripper. Morse’s writing also would be ideal for people who like smart and sexy fiction. The Sweetheart Deal is a romantic and intelligent novel that will have readers clamoring for more from Allison Morse.