Lohmann, Jennifer, Love on Her Terms, (Richmond, Surrey: Harlequin (UK) Limited, 2016).
Title: Love on Her Terms
Author: Jennifer Lohmann
Issues: Bereavement; Depression; Grief; HIV; Suicide
If only attraction always led to happily ever after…
Mina Clements wants to grab life with both hands. With a fixer-upper and a fresh start in Montana, the graphic novelist is ready to do just that. Plus, having handsome handyman Levi Pardo next door could be a bonus… But even though sparks sizzle when Levi helps with her renovations, the widower’s in no hurry to fall in love again. Still, he’s much more than the neighbour who looks good swinging a hammer. He’s a man she wants to trust with her biggest secret—one that can either bring them closer or wreck the new beginning they both need.
Love in Her Terms is one of those books that was born from many places yet somehow came together perfectly. There’s no question this book is influenced by the many times I’ve watched the 1966 movie A Man and a Woman (my mom’s favorite). And for years I’d wanted to write about a young woman who moves in next door to a cranky widower. She brings new sparkle to his life, but she has a chronic illness, and my hero’s not sure he can handle it. Of course, the heroine’s illness kept alluding me. Then while ruminating on a different novel where the heroine has HIV, a friend asked on Twitter if there were any heterosexual romances where one character has HIV. I knew then that I had to put the two idea together! Sometimes – okay, often – authors need a friendly push.
My heroine, Mina, is also a graphic novelist so I can’t resist recommending Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. It’s a wonderful exploration of the art form whether you’ve read comics and graphic novels or are new to the format entirely. Some of his theories make my jaw drop in awe. And seriously, if you do pick up the book and want to talk about it-shoot me an email! And for a real-life love story similar to Love on Her Terms, read Blue Pills: A Positive Love Story by Frederik Peeters. It’s Peeter’s graphic novel memoir about falling in love with an HIV-positive woman, who also has an HIV-positive son. As a librarian and book lover, suggesting books is one of my favorite pastimes, and hese are two good ones!
Love on Her Terms was a powerful book for me to write and I hope it’s just as powerful for you to read.