It took me some time into the book before I realised why some of the lesser characters in Love Claimed seemed so familiar to me. I hadn't actually realised that this entire series of books focuses on the same extended family, yet each book uses two of the members as its principal characters. I was then able to happily revisit some of the characters I enjoyed in Until the Stars Fall from the Sky, which was neat.
Rather than just two, there were three principal characters to this story; Dondra, Jaxson and Gabriel. Dondra, an almost forty, single mum with a teenage son Gabriel, meets Jaxson, a struggling doctor who is just starting his career, later than most. The inevitable happens and they fall in love, but the path of true love rarely runs smoothly.
One of the things I really like about Crawford's writing is that her characters are usually very clever, successful and intelligent, but invariably deeply flawed or shaped by their difficult pasts. Love claimed is no exception in this way. Both Dondra and Jaxson have had difficult pasts that they have tried to put behind them, but only partly successfully. Dondra especially has a history of molestation and incest, eating disorders and substance abuse. Despite that, she has made an excellent job of bringing up her talented, young, sixteen-year-old son, Gabriel.
Crawford is never slow to confront evil, such as child abuse, bullying and incest head on in her stories. She doesn't shy away from the subjects, but neither does she exploit them to shock or offend. She is open and honest about the impact of these things on her characters in later life.
When I find an author's characters who espouse many of the philosophies of life, I hold dear to, I do get a kick out of that. It is clear that Crawford must be an adherent of many of the philosophies of the Law of Attraction as they flow quite naturally into her character's actions and dialogue. I really enjoy that.
To sum up, Love Claimed is an outstanding love story that would appeal to many outside of her supposed target market. I suspect I'm as far away from her expected readership demographic as you can get and I loved it. If you love romance, tension, and conflict or if you are just a sucker for a squishy romance, as I am, you'll love this book.
I did and I happily give it the five stars it deserves.
You can check out all of Mary Crawford's fine work here: http://amzn.to/1KSQBmu