Harlequin Presents #209
SPOILER ALERT ⚠
Reviewed by Introvert Reader
A Life Not Yet Lived
Wendy Brown is a not-yet-21-year-old Englishwoman who’s been given the worst news imaginable. She has an inoperable brain tumor and will die in a few months. Rather than spend her last days wallowing in despair, Wendy decides to make the best of her lot. Alone in the world, she sells her family home. She buys a ticket for the maiden voyage of a glamorous cruise ship that’s set to sail the world.
Thus begins Anne Hampson’s Song of the Waves, a vintage Harlequin Presents written in 1976, a year before I was born.
Even for a book so ancient (ha-ha), this romance comes off old-fashioned. It never delves deeper than a few kisses and severely-restrained passion. Anne Hampson’s books might have been among the first published for the Harlequin Presents line, but that sort of antiquated mindset would later cause the publishers to break ties with her in favor of more “modern” minded authors, such as Charlotte Lamb.
A Love That Saves a Life
Introduced into this “love boat” romance is a vast field of characters, couples, and individuals, who will get to know Wendy as she charms her way aboard the ship. Rumors abound that a man-eater movie star is onboard traveling incognito as an innocent naif. One shipmate who believes the gossip is Garth Rivers, the book’s hero.
Unfortunately, Garth puts 1 and 1 together and gets 11, as he thinks our Wendy darling is said actress. So Garth treats her with contempt at first. As he gets more familiar with Wendy, Garth realizes that her sweet demeanor is genuine, and he has trouble synthesizing his preconceptions with reality.
Wendy, for her part, quickly realizes her heart belongs to Garth. However, she hides the truth from him, as she would rather he think her a sophisticated woman of mystery, instead of a girl with a fatal disease.
Wendy faces her last days with aplomb, not letting her impending doom stop her from enjoying life. She makes the best of her situation, making friends, flirting lightly with would-be suitors, and taking awe of her new surroundings whenever the ship enters port.
Despite the misunderstandings due to lack of communication, our main characters do fall in love. But can love be enough to stop the Grim Reaper’s arrival?
Not only is Garth the only man Wendy’s ever loved, but he’s also the only person who can save her. For Garth–serendipitously enough–is a brain surgeon. Only he can perform the complicated, live-sustaining operation on the woman with whom he wants to spend the rest of his life.
Final Analysis of Song of the Waves
Song of the Waves is a cozy romance that’s bound to tug at your heartstrings. Wendy is a delightful heroine. While the plot is set up as a tearjerker love story, fortunately, this is a romance novel. Any tears of sadness are guaranteed to turn into tears of joy with the uplifting conclusion.