Good morning, Blog Buds! I’m bringing you this sweet little number to brighten your day like a breath of fresh air. ‘Cause let’s face it, real life can be a stale or bitter wind sometimes. Always keep your face towards the light, that’s what I say.
You know how I despise books which portray nannies as overpaid babysitters or worse. Not a problem with this one. You may remember I reviewed THE GOVERNESS’S SECRET BABY by Janice Preston some time ago and ran it again this past summer. Similar plot? Yes. Extremely similar title? Oh, yeah. But, that’s the beauty of Harlequin. They make it easy to find a book you’ll love even when you’re mean, tired, and cranky. Genius marketing, really. And it works. Check out this fun video on why people read the Romance Genre- Your Happy Place
Jack’s a hometown veterinarian and recent widow with an adopted toddler son. If that doesn’t sound tough enough, his baby boy, Sammy, has just been diagnosed with Autism. But, he is blessed with an early diagnosis. A lot of people, like my daughter, languish for years before they’re diagnosed. However and quite suddenly, just any ol’ babysitter will not do. (Psst, I’ll be blogging about Special Needs Nannies in a few weeks.) So his life is in an uproar and he very admirably wants to do his very best for his son. He’s no wimp. I always say if a man doesn’t have courage to change poopy diapers, I don’t care how many dragons he slays.
Jack is kind of a brick though. Really kinda boring. But, it’s hard to be fun when you have so much work and responsibility. (Believe me, I know. Two out of my four children have Special Needs.)
And then his irritating little sister-in-law shows up. His deceased wife, Chloe, was the polite, orderly one of the two sisters. Arianna is crazier than a road lizard. Okay, I made that last sentence up. Arianna is an outgoing free spirit who drove her polite, orderly, and judgmental parents nuts.
Sometimes being the good sister isn’t always that great.
And being the bad sister isn’t really so awful.
Arianna loved her sister and her parents, though she chafed under their rules. Being assumed a renegade, however, meant their expectations were low and she enjoyed more freedom to be herself than Chloe.
During the course of finding her own way in life, Arianna fell pregnant and that was just too much for her prim and proper sister to handle. Unwilling to sully the family name, Chloe convinced Arianna to place her baby for a closed adoption with her.
Poor Jack had no idea. Not such a great wifely thing to do to him, if you ask me.
Also, I think Chloe was really jealous of Arianna’s personal freedom and ability to produce offspring. A sad situation.
Of course, Arianna was heartbroken at not raising her son and she didn’t have visitation or anything like that, since it was a Closed Adoption.
Finding herself unable to move on, she moves closer and happens to be there and qualified when Jack finds himself in need of a Special Needs Nanny. Of course, she gets the job faster than you can say Mrs. Doubtfire.
Jack’s apprehensive about hiring his former sister-in-law to nanny his baby, but she does have the skills with Special Needs children. Besides, he always kinda liked her, but, of course, never acted on those feelings while married. Arianna drove his wife crazy with her messy ways and impulsive individuality. Good reasons for Jack to avoid being around Arianna.
But, he’s a single man now. And how can he resist falling for a woman who so clearly adores his precious son? Arianna’s really good with Sammy and that’s saying a lot, especially compared to his previous caregiver. Pretty soon Jack’s finding himself relaxed and happy with Arianna around.
That realization fluctuates between delight and scarin’ the livin’ daylights outta him. At this point in the story, he’s becoming a much more interesting character.
Then the birthfather shows up.
Arianna never told him about being pregnant, but Chloe did for whatever reason. In any case, he seems a nice enough guy, but not the kind who would make a solid lifelong partner. He certainly is enough to worry Jack who knows Nathan’s the ex but still doesn’t know he’s the birthfather. Or that Arianna is Sammy’s biological mother, not just his aunt.
Oh, yeah, you can see how this is going to add up to all kinds of crazy, right?
Naturally, Arianna is terrified her cover will be blown and she’ll lose her chance to raise her son. But, then, why would she? She’s grown up and Chloe isn’t there to reinforce their parents rigid ways. Unlike the heroine of the governess story, Arianna has legal rights in this time and place, as the biological mother.
But, she could certainly lose Jack’s love for lying to him all this time. And custody battles can get ugly.
The characters are well developed and the plot was believably presented in this story. Also, there’s a baby in a cowboy hat on the cover and you know what a pushover I am for that. Autism and the necessary parenting involved with that is well portrayed too. I’m the parent of an autistic child and I appreciate the author doing her homework in this respect. This story will delight you after a hard day at the office and make you believe that love always finds a way.
Plus, there’s a puppy.
This lets her publisher know they need to put out more of the books you love.
USA Today bestselling author Lee Tobin McClain read Gone with the Wind in the third grade and has been an incurable romantic ever since. When she’s not writing angst-filled love stories with happy endings, she’s probably snapchatting with her college-student daughter, mediating battles between her goofy goldendoodle and her rescue cat, or teaching aspiring writers in Seton Hill University’s MFA program. She is probably not cleaning her house.