Dee Henderson's Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story serves as an introduction to her O'Malley series by finally devoting a book to the only O'Malley whose story was basically told through the points of view of her siblings in their respective books. It sets up the course of events that follow in the subsequent novels.
When I requested to review this book, I confess I was expecting a full-length novel, much like Dee Henderson's other O'Malley books, rather than a novella; it's my fault for not paying attention to the dimensions and length of the book, though they don't actually state it anywhere in the official description. So that was a surprise and a bit of a disappointment, as I would have liked more story.
As a rule, I feel like novellas rarely allow for enough character and plot development to make a solid story. Unfortunately, this one basically follows that pattern. I had hoped that it would give more insight into Jennifer's character, but I feel like everything I know about her I already learned in the O'Malley books; this just condenses it all under one cover. The main advantage of this book is that we learn a bit more about Tom, though I still don't think it's as in-depth as the love interests in the full length novels.
There is not much of a conclusion to the story; part of that is to be expected, since the remainder of Jennifer's life is detailed in the following novels. However, it could have been tied up a little more satisfactorily without compromising the series. Also, given that a fair amount of the novel is devoted to Jennifer's patients, I would have liked to see more attention given to what happens with the little girl Veronica, for whom Jennifer cares so much. I don't remember her from the novels (granted, it has been some time since I read them), thus it would have been nice to find out more - her surgery appeared successful, but not conclusive since there was something strange about the tissue they removed. Was it successful? Does the tissue indicate she has some worse problem? Is she cured? Does she die? In any case, the author seems to forget all about her in light of Jennifer's troubles.
If one has not read the O'Malley books, this would be a fine introduction to Jennifer, and if one has read the books, it's nice to read just to acquaint oneself with Tom a bit better. However, it doesn't really add to the series, and to be honest, I don't think it can stand on it's own. 2 stars.
Bethany House Publishers provided me with a free copy of this novella for the purpose of this review.