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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

This Old House: Love Comes Home by Lavada Dee

This Old House: Love Comes Home by Lavada Dee
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 3 Books
Reviewed by Ivy

It's too much. Katherine goes from single and sharing an apartment with two roommates to being a mother to her orphaned niece. With no other family, it's just her and Jodi. Short of money, and knowing the night job she holds will put additional trauma on her niece, Katherine seeks a live-in domestic position.

Ross Huntington has just finished with the last of a series of unsatisfactory baby sitters. He's raising his two boys by himself, and while he has family support he hates having to depend entirely on his parents to provide child care.

They need each other, and what they can offer each other seems ideal except these two people attract attention. They're young, beautiful and no one in Ross's home town is going to believe Katherine is just the nanny. Solution: Marriage. Rules: In name only.

I admit the title threw me at first, but the idea of a romance blossoming during a house restoration piqued my interest. THIS OLD HOUSE starts with the devastated Katherine trying to get her life together after the death of her sister. She is alone with her grieving niece and they both need a new beginning. Being a nanny sounds like a novel idea, until Katherine meets her employer, Ross. Anyone could fall for a drop-dead gorgeous pilot, but Katherine’s too scarred from a past relationship. Both want what’s best for their children, so when Ross suggests marriage so his small town doesn’t “talk” about their living arrangement, Katherine agrees.

Katherine has a gentle personality with a passion for watching out for those around her. She isn’t quick to express her feelings, and this causes tension as the romance unfolds. I was touched by her concern for those around her. She truly carries this story with her determination, but it’s a lot on her (and the reader’s) shoulders.

Ross has been destroyed by his divorce. His pain over his ex-wife’s betrayal makes him almost unlikeable as he snaps at Katherine at the most inappropriate times. The smallest thing seems to set Ross off. I would have liked to have seen Katherine stand up to him a time or two, and let him know despite attraction, growing respect, and even feelings of love, he needed to get a grip.

The feelings of attraction are powerful. The romance in THIS OLD HOUSE is well-developed for the first half. It is admirable that Katherine holds back and doesn’t throw herself into a physical relationship, but at times later in the story, the results of the couples’ attraction often felt like teasers, dragging us intentionally along to a predictable finish.

Labeled as sweet, the writing in this novel, even without intimacy, is sensual and hungry. My own appetite yearned for stronger subplots and secondary characters (minus a few). For example, I missed and wanted details with the house renovation. The title gave me the impression this would be central to the storyline, but it felt almost like background material and it did not even begin until the midpoint. Also, the children seemed lovely, but I never felt there was a real opportunity to bond with them. Despite some of these drawbacks, Ms. Dee writes with confidence. Her appreciation for the natural setting of Washington State is lovely.

Although this book did not grab me by the heartstrings, the pacing and story are well done. It is a nice read for a quiet afternoon or car ride. I don’t think I would pick up a sequel, but I would certainly try one of this author’s books again.