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Review: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

Title: Hello Stranger

Author: Katherine Center
Year published: 2023
Category: Adult fiction
Pages: 336 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)USA (TX)

SummaryLove isn’t blind, it’s just a little blurry.

Sadie Montgomery never saw what was coming . . . Literally! One minute she’s celebrating the biggest achievement of her life―placing as a finalist in the North American Portrait Society competition―the next, she’s lying in a hospital bed diagnosed with a “probably temporary” condition known as face blindness. She can see, but every face she looks at is now a jumbled puzzle of disconnected features. Imagine trying to read a book upside down and in another language. This is Sadie’s new reality with every face she sees.

But, as she struggles to cope, hang on to her artistic dream, work through major family issues, and take care of her beloved dog, Peanut, she falls into―love? Lust? A temporary obsession to distract from the real problems in her life?―with not one man but two very different ones. The timing couldn’t be worse.

If only her life were a little more in focus, Sadie might be able to find her way. But perceiving anything clearly right now seems impossible. Even though there are things we can only find when we aren’t looking. And there are people who show up when we least expect them. And there are always, always other ways of seeing.

Review: I have enjoyed all of Katherine Center's books so far (links to my reviews: The BodyguardHappiness for BeginnersHello StrangerHow to Walk AwayThings You Carry in a FireWhat You Wish For ) so was really looking forward to this one and it did not disappoint! Center continues to be a go-to author for me.

I found the bits about the facial blindness fascinating. I knew about this syndrome (is that the correct word?) but hadn't heard the details; I thought they just didn't remember or recognize people's faces, not that the faces look jumbled. It as also good that she wrote about coping mechanisms, how it confusing and causes mishaps, and how it affects daily life.

I also liked the romance and do not care that I figured out the twist before the main character did. It just made me more eager to read to see how she would figure it out. Whenever I review a romance, I say that I like the predictability. Center has an entire After Word about romances that is really good. She says that predictable is seen as negative and that we should instead talk about the anticipation a reader feels. It's a lovely read.

Challenges for which this counts: none

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