Annie's Song - Catherine Anderson I'll be honest. I went into this book with high expectations, and I'm leaving it with mixed feelings. It appears I'm in the minority of people who just couldn't get on board with this book.

As many people have rehashed already, in simple terms, this book is about Annie, who has been woefully mistreated by her family in their misguided assumption that she is an "idiot" when she is really just deaf. After a cruel rape at the hands of the hero's brother, Annie is left pregnant, and our hero, Alex, agrees to marry her. From there, we see more mistreatment of Annie, followed by the discovery that she isn't an idiot and is rather "just" deaf, has lost her knowledge of speech, and has never been taught anything of social mores or expectations. Alex is determined to teach her how to communicate and, in the process, falls in love with sweet, gentle, beautiful Annie.

I thought the portrayal of the love story was fairly realistic. From early in the story, we've seen Alex's need to care for someone (in the past, his miscreant brother Douglas; in the present, his pregnant deaf wife, Annie), and it's not completely a stretch of the imagination that he would fall in love with a girl who is dependent on him and shows him a sweet gentleness that he doesn't encounter in his everyday, hard-working life. Annie has never had a champion, so when Alex swoops onto the scene and recognizes her as an intelligent young woman who just needs an opportunity to learn and interact, it's understandable that she would fall for her hero.

Annie's character, however, gave me pause. Um, HUGE pause. I recognize that Annie is, in truth, just untutored in the ways of society, and she's a young woman in her twenties. Even so, the constant references to her "childlike innocence" or her reactions that are "like a child's" really made me uncomfortable. I know Alex thought of Annie as perfectly capable in terms of her mental facilities; however, it just skeeved me out whenever Annie was described in childlike terms (and Alex THOUGHT of Annie's reactions as similar to those of a child's) at the same time that they are engaged in a physical relationship.

This book is by no means a bad one. It was touching, and the ending had me crying (which seems to be a trend whenever I read a Catherine Anderson book). However, I think the portrayal of the heroine's naivete and innocence toes the line of a child's ignorance a little too much. If this is a trend in the author's historical romances, then I will likely stick to her contemporary novels.