Series: Cedarwood Pride #6
Author: Megan Slayer
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Publication Date: February 25, 2020
Length: 129 pages
Reviewed by Michael
Two men collide at a coffee shop…sparks fly along with the java.
Dr. Adrien Ellet loves his dental practice in Cedarwood. He prides himself on being one-half of the most inclusive office in town. Where he’s an expert in the dental field, he’s not so hot as a father. He knows his relationship with his four-year-old son, Kyle, isn’t great and his nanny, Kelsi, is moving on. What’s a guy to do when he needs a little guidance and could use a hot man in his life?
He goes to the coffee shop.
Nathan Gordon loves children and his career as a manny. But he’s lonely. Being a manny means spending his time with children, not going to clubs or partying. Good thing he’s happy to be a homebody. When he runs into the coffee shop for a quick latte, he meets the man of his dreams—who also happens to be the head of the family he wants to manny for. What’s a guy to do when he’s hired to care for the children, yet he’s attracted to the father, the dentist from the coffee shop?
Can these two make it to forever or will the passion between them fizzle before they get started?
Reader advisory: This book contains references to inadequate parenting, suicide threats, homophobia and homophobic harassment.
In my opinion ever so humble , there are two different kinds of books: character driven and plot driven.
In a character driven story, the author may have some general understanding of who the characters are and what the basic plot points may be. But how the characters interact with each other as well as those plot points is entirely up to them. The characters have freedom of choice, which may frustrate the author because they’re not doing what the author wants.
In a plot driven story, everything that happens is purely determined by the plot itself. The characters have little to no choice. They are there to get from point A to point B.
There’s nothing wrong with either one as long as both the characters and the plot are engaging. However, the danger of writing a purely plot driven story is that it can sometimes come across as contrived, like someone was marking off checkboxes on a list, without an explanation as to why something happens.
Sadly, that’s how I felt as I read this book.
The premise is cute: dentist with a child in needs of a new nanny after his current one quits. The execution, however…
Adrien is the dentist in question. His nanny, Kelsi is getting married and decides to leave her position as his nanny to 4-year old Kyle. That’s all fine and dandy, but the problems with the story pop up immediately.
Kelsi is quitting to be a stay at home wife. Okay, that’s acceptable, if not entirely believable in this day and age. However, her fiancé just happens to be Adrien’s office partner, Mike, and wants to get married immediately. Adrien, however, has no clue his nanny and his office partner are even dating, let alone that Mike even wanted to propose. What does that say about Adrien that he’s so clueless about the happenings in the lives of the two people that he’s around all the time? Oh, and Adrien and Mike are the only two dentists in town, which means this is a small town, and someone had to have seen the soon-to-be newlyweds out and about, and no one said anything to Adrien?
Further in, something happened that gave me pause. Adrien is putting his son, Kyle, to bed, and they’re discussing a child in Kyle’s class calling him a freak. What should be a nice father/son bonding moment turns into something else.
Kyle makes the comment that he wishes he were gay, like his father, so that he could have a boyfriend. I understand the point of the scene was to be a nice teachable moment in which Adrien tells his son he can be whoever or whatever he wants. Yet the scene rankled me.
For decades, the LGBTQ community has fought tooth and nail to have their families recognized as being just that: family. In addition to that, there’s always been a stigma that we within the community would somehow indoctrinate or brainwash our children into being something other than who they truly are. To have this scene, this statement, in an M/M romance struck a nerve with me, and derailed the entire book. Am I overly sensitive to this? Possibly. But if I felt this way, it’s possible that others within the community could feel the same. The scene itself could have been handled without that statement.
All in all, this book left me feeling as if someone had made an outline, and was simply following the steps. The characters didn’t feel fleshed out, and the plot felt more author driven than anything else.
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