After an accident takes her sight, Leah's working hard to regain her independence, altered as it now may be. College, her future plans, really everything she thought life would be has now been irreversibly changed, but she's determined to build a life for herself, one that doesn't include living with her parents. Moving into her own apartment and going to class with the help of an aide, things are looking pretty good. And when she meets her presumably hot new neighbor, she's ready to give dating life another try. But J.D. isn't there by accident, and finding out he isn't just some fortuitous twist of fate leaves her questioning everything.
The Verdict: The story starts around the time that Leah is as recovered from her accident as she's ever going to be, and now she's ready to get back to her own life. After finally convincing her parents that she needs to be on her own despite her blindness, they help her get moved into a new apartment and get her set up with a temporary aid to help her learn her way around. What they don't tell her, though, is that they've also hired a bodyguard of sorts, someone to follow her and watch over her as she takes on a newly dark world.
I liked Leah from the get-go. Asserting her independence is universally relatable, even if most of us didn't have to do it blind. And to be honest, I can completely understand why her parents are so concerned about her being on her own. Whereas most parents have to warn their daughters to be careful and lock their doors and not walk around empty streets alone at night, hers have to worry that she'll take a wrong turn and have no way of knowing how lost she is, that she'll step into a crosswalk as a driver ignores a red light, that she'll never see the mugger standing right in front of her. So I can't really blame them for hiring J.D. to tail her and give them a little extra peace of mind.
J.D.'s had a hard time of things, trying to return to civilian life after the horrors of war, not sure what to do next or how to function in a society that can't see his psychological wounds. So the security job that includes free rent and entails little more than following around a blind girl seems like a good gig. But then he meets her, can't help but like her, and is stuck keeping a secret that he's pretty sure will ruin everything.
Leah is immediately attracted to J.D., and the excitement of a maybe new relationship is really good for her, something normal that she hasn't lost. It instantly reminded me of those youthful years when every new boy was a potential boyfriend, and that bit of crushing on the new guy made Leah feel very real to me. J.D., of course, has some reservations, since he's technically there on her dad's payroll and not supposed to be interacting with her, but I like that he didn't put up much of an internal fight and instead followed his heart and allowed something to build between them.
Of course, the day comes when the secret is revealed, and Leah understandably feels betrayed, so her dramatic reaction makes sense. She's worked so hard to be able to live her own life, and to find out that her attentive new boyfriend only showed up because he was paid to had to be really hard. I hated that she doubted his feelings for her, but I can't say I wouldn't do exactly the same thing. For one, he lied by omission. But it would also be hard to get past the fact that he only came into her life through the manipulations of her parents. J.D., on the other hand, goes a bit off the deep end, and while it made sense given his PTSD and general lack of a life compass at the time, it was really sad to see. In many ways, Leah handled the break up so much better than he did, which just goes to show how strong and capable she really became.
There is, as would be expected, a nice happily ever after to be had when they get past the trouble, but I'll let you read that bit for yourself. In the meantime, I can honestly say that Blind Passion was everything I hoped it would be, an eye-opening story about recovering and rebuilding with a disability, a classic boy-meets-girl romance, and of course, the always awesome two people saving each other. While Leah's blindness was certainly a part of the tale, the real story was simply romance and growing up, and I loved every second of it.