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I initially avoided this book because of reviews expressing strong distaste for an H who abandoned his child for the sake of his career. But it’s not that simple. The H at 18 hated small town life and had worked hard for a lucrative college scholarship, to get himself and his girlfriend a better life out of the town. Then she gets pregnant and dies shortly after childbirth. H had abandoned his scholarship, married his girlfriend and got a job at a local hotel to support them. Personally I think not many 18 year olds would have done this. Finding himself responsible for a newborn baby, I find it understandable that when his wife’s grieving parents offer to look after the baby so that he can take up his college scholarship, he accepts their offer. Ok, so he makes a big mistake and then loses contact with his child due to a career choice that required lots of overseas travel – but also due to unhelpful grandparents who wanted to raise their only grandson. But he knows he messed up, and is back to put things right. So I get annoyed at judgmental reviews that see this as unforgivable. Would these reviewers rather he just stayed away?
With a classic first greeting between the H and h (“Is your mother home?”), this is a satisfying romance with that humour and repartee that I love about Susan Andersen books. Instant attraction between the couple takes some time to develop further, as the H struggles to form a relationship with his teenage son which, I was pleased to note, took priority for both H and h. The h, although not happy with the idea of losing her de facto “little brother” also realised that a relationship with his dad was a positive thing that needed nurturing. She is not happy with losing her guardianship, but also realistic enough to put the needs of the child before her own. In this aspect, especially, it was good to find a book where the two adults actually acted like adults, put the child’s needs first at all times, and never let their emotions cloud the issue where the child was concerned. I also loved the fact that when the H stuffed up in the last part of the book (don’t they always?) the h called him on his bull**** and didn’t hide her feelings or her opinion on the issue – thereby forcing the H to take a good hard look at himself and where his life was leading.
This is a solid satisfying romance with some good secondary characters – a couple of them are obvious leads to the next book in the series but they are only mentioned in passing so it does not detract from the main story in any way. Really enjoyed this light-hearted romance, and look forward to the next one.