Book Review

Macomber’s Next Door

“The Courtship of Carol Sommars,” and “Father’s Day,” by Debbie Macomber

My book club decided that next month we will discuss “Anything by Debbie Macomber.”  I figured that with such an open selection of Contemporary Romance, I should find at least one book of interest.
Turns out, I found two.

“Right Next Door” includes the neighborly romances of “The Courtship of Carol Sommars,” and “Father’s Day.”  Both stories are about widowed moms with a son who wants to be closer to his best friend (thereby bringing the mom closer to the dad of the best friend).  Ironically, I picked this book because I expected these stories to be less about the mom, and more about the boys with plots to put the parents together.  I was wrong on both accounts.  Silly me.  These were romances for adult women. 😛

1108020In “The Courtship…”, the son is a young high schooler with a best friend his age.  His best friend’s dad is a widowed construction manager who has no fear of the “me too” movement.  For a book written in 1990, the main male character is more forward and demanding than today’s male characters.  There are sexual references and innuendos, and frankly, I’m surprised the characters remained chaste.
The ending of this book dragged with multiple “happily ever after” scenes after “the happily ever after.”
For the uncomfortable romance and lack of involvement from the boys, I rate this one below 3 stars.

1108026Written in 1991, “Father’s Day” felt more satisfying.  The son is a typical 10-year old who wants a dog and is disgusted by the amount of girls in the neighborhood.  Lucky for him, there’s a lovable dog next door.  Unlucky for the mom, the dog is owned by an aloof lawyer with a painful past.  The romance here feels more slow growing and satisfying because she wins the heart of the mysterious heartless.
Again, the ending set me off, but for opposite reasons.  The ending of “Father’s Day” was abrupt, with a line that felt forced as the only explanation of the book title.
Still, for the rest of the book, ****4 Stars****

All in all, I know there’s a large following of people who love contemporary and mostly clean romances (AKA Hallmark).  To them, I highly suggest Debbie Macomber.
As for me, well, I prefer my romances as subplots.

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