Guy-in-love-feels-inadequate/unworthy-because-of-his-past, is one the of the story lines that I see a lot of these days. I believe it is a spin-off of the “Beauty and the Beast” theme: where the guy hides behind a façade to drive (or misdirect) people from his pain. In this case though, he hides behind his past. The story goes something like this: Guy meets a girl unlike any other and falls for her; to win her he must get the courage (and maturity) to overcome or face his past. Often there are antagonists that try to hamper his progress, but equally as often it is his own “demons” he must face. “Milk Money” (mentioned in another post) is a good example of this.
I find that I prefer less modern-era versions of this story, but perhaps I just like westerns better 🙂 One book I really enjoyed that had this story line (at least its close cousin: guy tries to redeem himself and make good), is Finally a Bride by Vickie McDonough. The title is a little out of place, because the heroine of the story does not seem as interested in matrimony as her female companions are; but it certainly should not be discounted solely for a misleading title. To get the full effect of this book I suggest reading The Anonymous Bride and Second Chance Brides, the first two in the Boardinghouse Brides Series, to get the back-story of the characters.
The town bully left several years ago; his departure spurred, in part, by a certain tomboy who’s not-quite-accurate rendition of his actions got him in trouble with the sheriff (her step-father) on more than one occasion. Fast forward several years, and that tomboy-turned curious journalist–and young woman–finds out that the new parson will be staying at her mother’s boarding house. He is tall, dark, and handsome–of course–and can hardly stop staring at her. (I’ve yet to read a novel where the hero wasn’t at least good-looking…unless perhaps you count the “scarred man” theme…) As a journalist she is curious about his past, but finds him evasive (though never untruthful) on that subject. Soon after his arrival strange things start happening around town: people finding brand new pie plates with money in them on their windowsills, cords of wood chopped and stacked, etc. I think one can see where this has been and where it is going. It is certainly worth reading–in fact it is on my shelf– and I am sure I will be re-reading it again soon! (I love that the heroine is short…but then perhaps I just like reading about (other) short people 🙂
What is your favourite book on this theme? I would love to hear some good suggestions! (I’m always looking for interesting books to read–and review!).