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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
When I Met Elena is a contemporary romance novel by Desiree Span. It's been two years since Elena Castro, an ER doctor, lost her loving husband to a brain aneurysm, and she is still grieving his loss. When fate makes her cross paths with the handsome happy-go-lucky surfer Matthew Callister, both feel an instant mutual attraction neither can deny. Hoping to keep things casual and fun, Elena and Matthew begin a passionate physical affair but can't help developing deeper feelings. Matthew, who, with his sister, has been raised by their foster mother, loses his sense of normality when she falls terminally ill. Meanwhile, Elena has got a one-year fellowship in London. Will Matthew and Elena be able to rise above the baggage of their past and find a way to be together?
Desiree Span offers readers with an intoxicating brew of romance and family drama with this novel. Bittersweet, heartwarming, and hopeful, When I Met Elena draws you in from the first page and leaves you with a smile by the end. Span's absorbing tale is about moving on from grief and loss and looking forward to new beginnings. The two main characters, Elena and Matthew, come from very different backgrounds and have their own share of tragedy in their lives. But there is an undeniable chemistry between the two that shines through the pages during their interactions. As a reader, you want them to end up together. I also found myself invested in the stories of Span's secondary characters, especially Noelle, Zoey, and Lorraine. The author's smooth writing style and the evenly-paced narrative make the book an absolute delight to read. Highly recommended to contemporary romance readers.