Hello Stranger

St. Martin’s. Jul. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9781250283788. $29. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Sadie Montgomery is a struggling portrait artist, but things are looking up for her career when she’s selected to participate in a portrait competition. Of course, that’s when she discovers she has a “minor” leak in her brain and has to have corrective surgery. While her recovery prognosis is excellent, the temporary swelling in her brain causes prosopagnosia, or face blindness. Sadie can see people’s bodies, but their faces are mixed-up jumbles. As Sadie struggles with what could be her new normal, she begins to appreciate other things about the people she meets. Her new veterinarian’s confident gait, for instance, or her neighbor’s kindness. Sadie might just be falling in love with both men simultaneously—and she has no idea what either of them looks like. This charming, heartfelt romantic comedy has a well-told, unique storyline, and Sadie’s prosopagnosia feels deftly explained, explored, and treated with respect. There’s chemistry between the protagonists with a slow-burn relationship, but there’s also a focus on Sadie’s mental and emotional growth, as well as her artistic frustrations and problem-solving methods.
VERDICT Readers who enjoy Jenny Colgan and Susan Mallery will love this engaging, well-written romance from Center (The Bodyguard).
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