The Passion of
Patrick MacNeill

The Reforming of
Matthew Dunn

The Comeback of Con MacNeill
by Virginia Kantra
(Silh. Int. Mom. #983, PG) ISBN 0-373-07963-4
Happily, the MacNeill brothers are back! Con is the charming brother who takes no prisoners in his commitment for victory. Working in a high profile investment-banking firm in Boston, his neatly planned life is badly skewed when he is fired. His fiancée, wealthy in her own right, moved on to more lucrative pastures, planning to marry his best friend instead.

Con is determined to make a comeback to the world where one is judged by "What have you done for me today?" and "The man who dies with the most toys wins." Toward this end, he accepts a consulting job in "Nowhere, North Carolina."

Con is hired by a banker to be a consultant to his daughter in the running of her restaurant. Her finances are a mess and her father is more interested in her image of not failing (and how it reflects upon him) than he is supportive. But regardless of the motive, Con seizes the opportunity to increase his own cash flow and secure a rousing recommendation for a new job in Boston.

Daughter Val, however, does not take kindly to manipulation. Her father ties her cooperation into the granting of a bank loan, so she reluctantly is stuck with Con. Val and Con are, of course, everything each has always avoided in a relationship. Val is a free spirit who is serving vegetarian lunches in the home she has inherited from her aunt. Con quickly learns that Val’s cash flow is more than enough to pay all expenses and make a profit, so why is she presently bouncing checks?

Much against his personal plan, Con falls for Val. What starts out as a fleeting attraction matures in a nice gentle way. Val doesn't do well with men who think they are always right, like her father. Con with his attitude is just another man to avoid, but soon, she is unable and unwilling to do that.

Virginia Kantra does a good job of working Val’s best friend Ann and her husband, Rob, into the plot without overburdening it. They become more than secondary characters and very integral to the story. Even with so much going on, the author leaves plenty of time for romance.

The multidimensional characters are easy to love or hate and the dialogue is crisp and strong. Kantra utilizes her secondary characters very well and her scenes flow effortlessly. All of this makes The Comeback of Con MacNeill a truly enjoyable read.

--Thea Davis

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