In the romance world, and fiction in general, there isn’t a lot of representation of disability. When there is, it seems to inadvertently highlight the “otherness” of the person with the disability by demonstrating how they’re different from “normal” people. So when I was reading this fantastic series by Linda Kage, I was blown away when Brandt and Sarah got a romantic storyline of their own. It’s not uncommon in romance for an author to write a series in which the characters are interconnected, but you can read each book as a standalone. While I highly recommend the entire series, today I’m giving special attention to this romance that breaks boundaries. Kage currently lives in Kansas with her husband and two daughters while working on her YA and adult novels. She has five series as of now as well as a few one-offs, each exemplifying how she excels in writing characters with humor and emotion.
Summary of Priceless:
“Brandt has been friends with Sarah for nine years. He trusts her more than anyone, and she's the one person he would never get over losing. Which is why since the moment he fell in love with her he's kept himself busy with other women, not wanting to ruin their friendship. Sarah has been in love with Brandt as long as she can remember. It all started from the moment she met him when he defended her from a bully and took her side without a second thought. Love like that can't be matched. She knows Brandt probably doesn't feel the same way about her; she sees the women he takes out and has gone out with since they were sixteen. And with her CP she doesn't feel like she holds a candle to a ‘normal woman.’ But what Sarah doesn’t know is Brandt sees her above all other women, to him she’s priceless.”
Why You Should Read It:
This book is the eighth in this series of 10 works, so it is honestly most impactful when you know all the characters from the previous books. It also explains how Sarah and Brandt met and why they became so close. To give you a shortened version: Mason from the first book in this series, Price of a Kiss, has a younger sister (Sarah) who has cerebral palsy. In this book, you learn that Sarah is not someone to let anything stop her from getting what she wants. Brandt is Noel’s younger brother who is introduced in To Professor, with Love. He and Sarah become friends on Facebook and begin to message one another, causing Brandt to immediately be drawn to her humor and wit. Even when they meet face to face in their middle school, Brandt won’t let anyone put Sarah down. He helps her feel like herself, that she is more than her disability.
This book will defy your expectations of romance novels. To date since reading this book, I haven’t read another romance that shows a heroine with a physical disability. It’s one thing to have representation for men and women with the “invisible” disabilities- mental illness, disorders, and chronic illnesses, but it’s another to represent a disability that is visible and incurable. In a class that I’m taking right now called “Disability and the Media,” I’ve learned a lot about the misrepresentation of disabilities in books and movies, so now, looking at the topic with new eyes, I can say this book does a really great job of showing Sarah’s disability. It’s common for books and movies to have a character with a disability that is cured in the end, but having Sarah be a woman with CP, living her life and having a happily ever after with the guy she’s in love with, only pushes the barrier for disability in romance further away.
This book was unlike any other romance I’ve ever read, and I highly recommend this series, because I bet you’ll love everything about it just as I did.
Unless you have a lot of time to spare, don't start a book conversation with Maxine, because she can talk for hours. She's an avid reader, primarily contemporary romance, but every once in a while she'll pick up a suspenseful thriller. She's been writing since high school, mostly fiction, and thinking of characters and situations to put them in for as long as she can remember. Her motto is "everyone deserves love," and therefore her dream is to help push representation for different races, disorders, and disabilities in the romance genre.