Each year, Harlequin presents More Than Words awards to women who have made a difference in the world, and they celebrate those women with a related story anthology. The proceeds from the book goes back to Harlequin's More Than Words program. This year, the anthology, More Than Words: Vol. 7, contains romantic novellas by bestselling authors Carly Phillips, Donna Hill, and Jill Shalvis. Those stories may be romances, but they also celebrate strong women, and the social agencies those women started.
For instance, in Carly Phillips' "Compassion Can't Wait," hospital social worker, Julia Caldwell, calls on the assistance provided by Valerie Sobel's actual foundation, Andre Sobel Rivers of Life Foundation, an agency that helps single parents with critically ill children. In the story, Julia, herself the sibling of a sister with cancer, understands that healthy siblings need coping skills, and someone to mentor them. While Michael Cortez' mother gets help to deal with Michael's twin brother who has leukemia, Julia calls on her high school sweetheart to reach out to Michael. It seems that Julia and Kyle Hansen, a star baseball player, also have some work to do, repairing a broken relationship.
Donna Hill honors Nancy Abrams' Family Resonant Program, a program that helps homeless youth, 16-24, reconnect with their families, helping them establish a supportive relationship. Hill's "Someplace Like Home" tells of three lonely people who just might be able to form a family.
And, Jill Shalvis' story is "What the Heart Wants." Her story is centered around Ellie Cahn, a fictional character who based her own agency of the real-life work of Victoria Pettibone and Sasha Eden with their WET's Risk Takers Series, Women's Expressive Theatre that challenges female stereotypes while providing media-literacy and leadership programs for teenage girls in New York City. Ellie, once a wild teen, works with at-risk girls. But, her accidental meeting with a man who she knew in school leads her to realize she hasn't been willing to risk her heart.
Readers learn about each of this year's recipients and their agencies in the course of the book. There are also two free ebooks by Pamela Morsi and Meryl Sawyer available at www.HarlequinMoreThanWords.com. And, once you've read these stories, you might want to search out others in the series.
The authors didn't have a great deal of pages to tell their stories, but they each managed to inform readers of the needs of the agencies while bringing strong women to life. In just over 100 pages, they also built an interesting romantic story. Fans of the authors, or strong women characters, would appreciate these stories. The authors, the real-life heroines, and Harlequin, should all be commended for their work.
More Than Words, Vol. 7. Harlequin. ©2011. ISBN 9780373837632 (paperback), 351p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publicist sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.