Smart Mouth

The Pregnancy Test
by Erin McCarthy
(Brava, $14.00, R) ISBN 0-7582-0847-2
I’ve been reading Erin McCarthy’s books since Bad Boys Online, her debut novel. One of McCarthy’s strengths is that all of her books are different; each one tells a unique story. The Pregnancy Test is another strong book by a talented author. I am pleased to recommend it.

Life takes a new turn for Mandy Keeling when she finds out she is pregnant. The child’s father breaks off their relationship and tells Mandy he never wanted another child. Mandy sells the toy company she owned so she can get a job where she will work fewer hours and receive health benefits.

Unfortunately, Mandy has morning sickness when she interviews for a position as Damien Sharpton’s assistant. She is pale and fights nausea throughout the interview, explaining that she has the flu. Although the interview ends with Mandy throwing up into a wastebasket at Damien’s feet, she gets the job.

If there is a common element in McCarthy’s books, it would be humor. There is a lot to make a reader smile in The Pregnancy Test. The description of the interview is hilarious, as is a later scene where Damien reads The Everything Guide to Pregnancy and recites his knowledge to Mandy.

Romance is the focus of the story, and Mandy and Damien are sympathetic, realistically portrayed characters. Mandy is a strong heroine who is scared about becoming a mother, but determined to do what’s right for her baby. Her actions and decisions after learning she is pregnant are admirable.

Damien devotes himself to work to the exclusion of everything else. After his first marriage ended tragically, Damien doesn’t plan to fall in love or get married, but he can’t resist the wonder he finds in Mandy and her unborn child. Watching Damien fall in love was sweet and poignant.

Even if you don’t normally enjoy books with pregnant heroines, I highly recommend The Pregnancy Test. While I didn’t immediately go back and reread it, which is my indication of a five-heart keeper, I closed the book feeling satisfied with the story. I look forward to McCarthy’s next release.

--Alyssa Hurzeler

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