Bandera's Bride

Bluer Than Velvet

Just One Look
The Marriage Knot

Moonglow, Texas

Storming Paradise

Baby, Baby, Baby by Mary McBride
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1121, $4.50, PG,) ISBN 0-373-27191-3
Baby, Baby, Baby contains one of my favorite plots, that of a divorced couple finding their way back to each other. While it’s an involving read that I devoured in one sitting, I couldn’t help being uncomfortable with a hero whose pursuit of his ex-wife feels just a little too much like stalking.

The book opens on Melanie Sears’ last day as personal assistant to Mayor Sam Venneman. She’s taking an eighteen month leave of absence to have a baby. Now she’s not pregnant at the moment, but she’ll take care of that on Monday when she undergoes artificial insemination. That the procedure will fail is something Melanie will not even consider. It would foul up her plans.

And planning is something Melanie does very well. There’s no aspect of her life that is not ruled by a to-do-list. Rigid and controlling are the first words that come to mind when I think of Melanie.

While Melanie awaits the birth of her child, she plans to use the time to fix up the nursery in her new home. Now right off the bat I’m intrigued by how a single mom can manage to take an eighteen month leave of absence from work and afford fix up her home at the same time. This is something that will remain a mystery throughout the book.

When Melanie arrives home after her going away party, she’s thrilled to discover someone is finally moving into the abandoned house next door. It’s an understatement to say she’s less than thrilled when she discovers her new neighbor is her ex-husband, Sonny.

Sonny Randle is an undercover cop who’s on leave after being shot and blown through a plate glass window. His bulletproof vest saved his life, but the near-miss has made him realize how much he misses his ex-wife. During their brief time together Sonny was married to his job more than to Melanie. He’s certain that moving next door and showing her how much he’s changed will win Melanie back.

But having Sonny next door is Melanie’s worst nightmare. Her marriage was the one and only time she acted on impulse and it turned out to be a disaster. Now all she wants is Sonny out of her life, but it doesn’t look as if Sonny will take no for an answer.

This is where things got a bit too weird for me. Melanie tells Sonny in no uncertain terms to leave her alone, yet he’s there every time she turns around. He even goes so far as to have a male friend’s car towed from in front of Melanie’s house when he misinterprets their relationship.

While both characters have definite idiosyncrasies, I have to admit by the end of the book I really liked them both. Sonny may have been a bit scary at the start, but he mellows considerably. And Melanie, who may be the poster child for anal retentive behavior, is really quite endearing. Particularly when it’s understood that her need to control is the result of a chaotic childhood.

One of the most important aspects of this type of romance is if I believe the couple has learned to move beyond the behavior that caused their initial breakup. In Baby, Baby, Baby I was certain both Sonny and Melanie learned from the mistakes of their past and I felt comfortable that theirs would be a happily ever after.

--Karen Lynch

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