Humankind made a valiant push for space, terraforming a selection of planets. Halfway there the effort stops – the planets have been infected by a mysterious life form, a life form that kills humans. When Earth takes to deadly violence in denying the prospective settlers their return to Sol System panic ensues. The space stations, meant as switching points and way stops, are left to their own in keeping all these people housed and fed. They turn into huge refugee camps, and long time such – when our story starts these forced conditions and it’s delicate psychology have been built up for two decades.
This is as complex as this little 562-page romance ever gets. Slow to start and wordy at places the book is nevertheless a satisfying read, and the last third fly by, even on a third reread.
Not all books need discuss serious and complex matters – sometimes a diversion is what you need and this a reasonably well written such.
Edited to add a link to Julie E Czerneda, the author. I must admit to be a bit muzzy-headed. Must be the fever.