A Crazy Kind of Love

The Last Santini Virgin

Finding You/Knowing You

Loving You

Marine Under the Mistletoe

Sleeping With the Boss

Some Kind of Wonderful

Turn My World Upside Down: Jo’s Story
by Maureen Child
(St Martin’s, $6.99, PG) ISBN 0-312-99754-X
Turn My World Upside Down is the final installment of the Marconi sisters trilogy featuring Josefina “Jo” Marconi.  Jo’s life is full of responsibility – double shifts at work, raising a ten-year-old half-brother, and finishing college. 

Her two younger sisters, Sam and Mike, are now both married and pregnant.  Recently pregnant Sam has morning, noon and evening sickness.  Pregnant with twins, Mike is on doctor ordered bed rest for her last trimester.  With her sisters unable to do as much around the family construction business, Jo is picking up the slack.

A year ago the sisters found out their father Henry had an affair while his wife (and their mother) was dying.  The affair resulted in Jack, their half-brother.  Jo still hasn’t forgiven her father for cheating, but she agrees to take care of Jack while Henry and his girlfriend go on a cruise.  After all none of this is Jack’s fault. 

After being raped in college Jo fled without graduating.  She’s kept the rape from everyone, including her family.  She has been secretly taking night classes for awhile to finish her degree.  Her past has made Jo defensive, and the current stress isn’t helping.  With all this going on, Jo has no time or interest in men.

Cash Hunter is a contractor at Marconi Construction.  Cash is quite the ladies man.  He is to women “what kryptonite was to Superman.”   For reasons he can’t understand, Jo’s prickly demeanor intrigues him, but she continuously turns him down for a date.  He keeps flirting until he finally wears her down for a first date.

Can Jo accept and forgive herself for her past enough to open up to love?  Can she forgive her father?  Will she learn to love and like her brother?  

The story is about families and about forgiveness and how families handle the surprises and adversities of life.  It’s also about how individuals learn to open up to others and how to forgive.  At first I found Jo to be bitter, abrasive, and antagonistic but eventually warmed up to her as she grew.  Her difficulty to accept the rape as not her fault and to tell her family was a turning point for her.

Whereas I had the opposite reaction to Cash.  His humor and charm at the start of the book are appealing.  His relentless pursuit of Jo is entertaining.  But when he catches her, he begins to back away thinking he is a jinx to women.  Too bad the author had to use that old standby where men/women pursue what or who they want and then start to think maybe he/she doesn’t deserve it.

While this has nothing to do with the story itself, I have to correct an error in the blurb – Jo is taking care of her half-brother not a stepbrother like the blurb states.  Minor, but incorrect.

It’s not unique and it’s not going to change your life, but Turn My World Upside Down  is an acceptable read for a few hours entertainment.

--Terry Lawrence

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