Anything Your Heart DesiresAmanda, Mallory, Nick and Dana, friends from AJ Adaire’s series Sunset Island, Awaiting My Assignment and Anything Your Heart Desires, decide to set up a translation business and offer language training together.

Their new office is overlooked by an intrigued author, Stacy, who realizes her plot issues could be solved by making her character a lesbian.

Enter policewoman Jo Martin, a friend of Mallory’s. Injured, in need of help, and an obvious candidate to teach the ‘straight’ Stacy all about the lesbian lifestyle for her novel. And nothing could possibly come of them living together. Stacy is confident of her sexuality, and Jo has a strict rule never to date straight women. They can be friends though right…

As always AJ Adaire writes charming traditional romances that entertain with warmth and affection. This is the fourth in the “Friends” sequence, and although it will stand alone, it is definitely better to read as part of that series.

The characters are pleasant women we all recognize, leading down-to-earth normal lives, battling their own demons, struggling as we all do, and sometimes battling the prejudice of friends, co-workers and families.  These women aren’t heroes or superstars, they are literally the girls next door and very easy to like.

The plot is slow to develop but reflects the gradual change in Stacy’s life. She steadily becomes aware of her feelings, and even more gradually battles through Jo’s prejudices. It is interesting to watch the usual ‘conversion’ turned around and the lesbian being dragged kicking and screaming.

With a touch of humour and occasionally laugh out loud moments, Ms Adaire keeps the plot moving along – just. Jo’s rehab, the friends new business and Stacy’s novel steadily develop and giving a gentle pace.

The characters are well-drawn. Not deep and exciting in any significant way, but they are the people we know, they have a realism that doesn’t make them overly exciting, but speaks to us as real people.

If you like traditional romances you will definitely enjoy these books. Watching the friends lives develop, meeting new members of the group and participating in the everyday lives of normal women. They aren’t challenging, but they are a most pleasant read. True traditional romances with gentle plots, charming characters and real-life situations that will speak to us all. Definitely a pleasant read for the beach.