Review: Sight of a Stranger by Sandra Field (1981)

Heat Factor: There’s no whoopie and minimal other stuff. The real heat comes from the drrrrrrama.

Character Chemistry: Blaise and Shannon are kind of a classic “you can’t deny their chemistry” type couple, and I could see people really liking this in the 80’s.

Plot: Shannon is recovering (pitifully) from a car accident (which resulted in the loss of her vision) caused by her ex-fiance when she’s swept up by her ex-fiance’s half brother, who is determined to white knight the shit out of her.

Overall: Do you like both romantic AND family drama? Do you like silly ninnies who are mostly helpless? How about emotionally immature men who don’t know how to have feelings? Do you like heroines whose career goals involve helping a brilliant man? This one’s for you.

So in this little snack of a book we have Shannon, who is 21 and a college dropout (who needs college when you’re engaged to an older businessman amiright), just kind of existing in her mother’s home after being dumped by her checked out fiance (who, by the way, caused the crash in the first place). LUCKILY, as her doctors said, she’s outwardly completely unscarred. It would be truly a tragedy if she’d been made less pretty after surviving an accident and losing her vision. But alas, she HAS lost her vision, and is now not able to look upon her fiance with the adoration to which he has become accustomed, and thus is left sitting by herself being mostly bored. 

UNTIL Blaise storms in, bosses everyone around, and convinces Shannon to try harder at living her life. He’s immediately smooching her up (he can’t resist, as we’re informed) and pushing her overprotective and kind of horrendous mother into letting Shannon, like…live. Exist. Be a human being out in the world with all the other human beings. Etc. When Blaise learns that there’s a chance Shannon qualifies for a surgery that would restore her vision, he manipulates and pushes her into that too, and manipulates and pushes her mother into letting her go. 

That’s the first chunk of the book. The second chunk is when her vision is restored. This isn’t a spoiler, come on guys. You knew this would happen. Anyway, Blaise arranges for Shannon to go stay at his rich family’s property for her recovery–that’s right. His parents and his half brother blow back into Shannon’s life. So next we have a love triangle situation where Blaise and her ex-fiance fight over her and Shannon kind of waffles around and wrings her hands and says all the wrong things and basically just keeps that drama train a-coming. My favorite bit was when Shannon’s mother gets wifed up and immediately becomes lovely, because independent women are shrews, obviously.

Look, it’s absolutely an old school romance. It’s clumsy because this is how romance looked back then, and this is how people legitimately talked about and viewed disabilities and this is what “healthy” relationships looked like (if you were rich and beautiful, which, duh, romance novel). So tabling the very real and obvious issues, I have to say I was entertained. Blaise and Shannon both worked through their own issues and had to take major leaps of faith and tackle communication issues in order to be together, and it WAS satisfying when they finally got there. Was there sex? No. But I also read the author’s bio on Goodreads when I started this review, and I have to say–I would pay good money to see this author write a book today. She nails the lingering physical tension, the thrilling sensations, the angst and the brooding. I was gripped, if I’m honest, because the book was certifiably bananas. I think there are books where the content might not age well and the details might be dated, but you can tell the author’s just got it. And I feel like this one does. 

Buy Now: Amazon

Looking for something similar?

Delicious Category Romance Snacks


Characters with disabilities (might be treated with more nuance than here…)

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