Gabriel’s Angel by Nora Roberts (Romance Novel, 1989).
Roberts is, of course, one of the most honored and best-selling authors of our time. She’s also adept at many distinct genres. This time out, she offers up a very good contemporary romance–one that isn’t sappy, but genuine and sexy. This one plays capably with a social class divide (a decidedly non-rich young woman’s experiences with and fear of snobbish and ruthless ‘upper crust’ types). This provides opportunity for some unforced social commentary as part of the storyline.
Gabe is a wealthy and very famous artist who has retreated to a mountain cabin in Colorado to heal from a family tragedy that he (unfairly) blames himself for. Driving home with supplies just ahead of a massive spring snowstorm, he barely maneuvers his Jeep out of the way of a car careening out of control down the road. The car ends up against the guardrail and it’s driver, while not hurt, is understandably shaken. Oh, and she’s also very pregnant–not to mention somewhat secretive. Her name’s Laura, she’s clearly on the run from something or someone, and the oncoming blizzard means she’s going to stranded for quite a while.
Thrown together by circumstances, the two share Gabe’s cabin and get to know one another. He’s drawn to her immediately, as is she to him–but both are cautious about revealing too much of themselves. Bit by bit, the two come to trust and depend on each other, and both slowly allow the other to know some of their personal pain.
I don’t want to reveal too much, but I will say that Gabe becomes very protective of Laura. She wants to believe in him, but has had some very bad experiences that make her suspicious of men in general, and in particular ones from elite families.
Still, the two of them help bring one another back to emotional life.
They eventually return to Gabe’s home in San Francisco, a newly married couple–who also have a new baby, and are confronted head-on by the sources of Laura’s fear. Inabilities to confide openly and fully lead to some complications, but it all comes together in the end. They (with the support of Gabe’s parents) face down the threat to Laura and the newborn baby. In the process, Gabe also fully reveals and deals with his own past traumas.
Overall: a very solid, sweet (but not gooey) and touching romantic adventure.