I Now Pronounce You Mom & Dad is the first of three books comprising
the cross line miniseries, ‘For the Children.' In September, Silhouette
Romance 1392 will introduce A Dad of His Own. October's SSE 1276 is
The Fatherhood Factor. What all the books appear to have in common
is a fairy godmother type, here in the guise of attorney Clementine St.
Ives, whose grandmotherly appearance belies her will of iron.
Lydia Farnsworth and Powell Greer haven't seen each other in six years.
They've been called to the law office of Clementine St. Ives, who's
representing four-year-old Kenny Houseman and his one-year-old sister,
Tami. Their parents, who died in a car accident, named Lydia and Powell as
the children's guardians. If Lydia and Powell don't agree to take the
children, they'll be put in foster care.
The crafty lawyer adds another layer of guilt by advising Lydia and Powell
to get married. That way they'll be able to convince a judge that the kids
are in a stable, loving home. Clementine softens the blow by telling them
that divorce is an option after the guardianship papers are finalized.
Knowing that there's no other choice, Lydia and Powell are married in Reno
in a tacky ceremony. One of the witnesses loses his dentures, and the
preacher's fly is unzipped. It's not an auspicious beginning for these two,
who weren't able to sustain a relationship years ago. Considering that
neither one of them has changed, this marriage is already on shaky
As an investment banker who's an up and comer, Lydia is a goal-oriented
person who believes in lists and structure. Outwardly she appears
confident, but inside she's always had nagging doubts, secret fears. It's
these doubts and fears that propel her to be the brightest and the best.
Watching her deal with the children, trying to get them and Powell to
comply with her time sheet, with its fifteen minute increments, is a
charming lesson in reality. Also, watching her trying to work full-time
from home and failing is an eloquent reminder that most of us aren't
Powell and Lydia are a study in contrasts. Powell has never been overly
ambitious or career minded. His job as a telephone lineman is enjoyable but
he's never felt that it defined his existence. Outwardly, Powell is
likable-a good, dependable man. His hot button is his independence. He grew
up seeing his dad give up everything he cared about for the sake of his
family. Powell has vowed to remain emotionally detached, never to give a
woman absolute control of his heart and his life. He equates freedom as the
absence of responsibility, of controlling his own life. Of the two
characters, Powell seems to be the weaker, the one unable to let go of past
hurts. He keeps looking for a way out of the relationship.
This is an engrossing story, one that delves into the complexities of
family dynamics. Kenny and Tami are fully-fashioned, strong secondary
characters. Family dynamics is such a strong theme that it outweighs the
romance aspect. It's charming and sweet to watch the grownups bond with the
children. But it isn't romantic. Lydia's ban on sex is predictable; since
the relationship isn't going anywhere, she's not going to sleep with
Powell. They finally come to their senses, but I kept expecting the kids to
pop in during the early morning intimacy scenes.
Two things keep me from recommending this story whole-heartedly. The first
is that it takes most of the book for Powell and Lydia to realize a basic
fact; it's okay to give up some of the rigid control they've had on their
emotions. It takes far too long to accept that compromise won't be the
ultimate traitorous act. The second reason is that this story has a broad
focus, that of bonding and blending into a family unit. Yes, the story from
this angle is quite good, but the emphasis on the family dilutes the
romance. More time is spent watching Powell and Lydia become good parents
than is spent watching them become friends and lovers.
If a wholesome story of four people meshing into a loving family is
something that interests you, then grab this book. If you're not into the
parenthood scene, then I Now Pronounce You Mom & Dad is a book
you'll want to leave on the shelf. You'll recognize it. Little Tami is on
the front cover.