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Book review: ‘What Took You So Long’ tells of romance between those jaded in love

"WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG" by Pamela S. Williams, Walnut Springs Press, $17.99, 272 pages (f)

Lainie McGuire and John Marchbanks are two Utah 30-somethings who have decided marriage is not in their future. When Lainie and her business partner hire John as their attorney in "What Took You So Long," the two interact more than they ever originally wanted.

Although Lainie and John first decide the other is just friend material, their relationship quickly progresses to romance. But difficulties arise when John, whose only flaw is a dislike for single adult activities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is diagnosed with cancer and Lainie, a cancer survivor, finds herself having to be strong for his benefit.

Midway into Lainie and John's romance, author Pamela S. Williams introduces another couple. Angela Cavanaugh and Kyle Kirkwood are also single adults living in Utah County. With an ex who lives only for money and the fast life, Angela has sworn off men and is determined to focus only on raising her two teenagers. Then Kyle, a widower with a sad past who helps troubled youths, enters her life. Although Angela is flattered by Kyle’s attention and finds comfort knowing he is a worthy priesthood holder, she must decide whether to continue putting her life on hold or start living for happiness.

“What Took You So Long” is a continuation of many of the characters introduced in Williams' first novel, “Living It Down.” Although the books don’t necessarily need to be read in order, “What Took You So Long” references many events and relationships that took place in the first book.

Williams has several great interweaving plots and characters that are easy to care for. Her description of lives touched by cancer rings true and adds depth to the story. However, there are many instances of corny humor and failed attempts at wit that can make parts of the book painful to read. Also, the spunky hormonal teens introduced in “Living It Down” now seem like lifeless moralists who spend much of their time either working or telling each other how much they enjoy being just friends.

“What Took You So Long” is a squeaky clean LDS novel, and there is no swearing or violence. The only romance is some kissing between characters who feel guilty about possibly kissing too much.

Williams, a former writing teacher, knows firsthand what it is like to deal with cancer. She lives in Provo with her husband.

Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother. She blogs at www.agoodreid.blogspot.com.