REVIEW: The Daddy Catch by Leigh Duncan
Jess Cofer isn’t fixing for a fight. All the single mom wants is to run her fly fishing shop and preserve unspoiled Phelps Cove, Florida, for future generations. Too bad Dan Hamilton doesn’t see it that way. It looks as if the tall, dark and sexy surgeon is in favor of handing over the endangered habitat to greedy developers!
Dan would love to get on his gorgeous new fishing instructor’s good side—if she has one. But he can’t throw away this opportunity to fulfill his dream to build a safe haven for foster teens. Dan knows that when it comes to the truly important things like love and family, he and Jess are on the same side. Will she forgive him when she learns what he’s been hiding?
Dear Ms. Duncan,
Thanks for the heads up on your latest novel “The Daddy Catch.” Yes, the title is a groaner but at least the book does actually have something to do with fishing. Fly fishing to be precise and who knew there was all that to know about the sport? See reading romance has come in handy again as a way to broaden my horizons.
I like novels where the main protagonists actually grow and change. Here both Jess and Dan have things to learn and it’s not just fishing, though Jess does turn Dan into a good fly fisherman. Jess lost her husband to an accident she feels was caused by rich types who dared her husband into doing something he knew he shouldn’t have. So when Dan shows up at her store, Jess already has a chip on her shoulder about his profession and his money.
At first she’s cool to him but her experience in the sport plus a sense of fair play won’t allow her to let him flounder and buy the wrong rod or use the wrong flies. And as she learns of his interest in helping foster children, she sees that he’s not just out to be a hot shot society doctor. Meanwhile, though Jess’s eyes Dan sees this last undeveloped bit of coastline as something beyond a way to make money. He finds in the place and in the sport a peace and beauty that can soothe as well as teach
The conflict is not a flimsy manufactured type. Jess and Dan are at opposite ends of the spectrum as far as Phelps Cove is concerned. Someone’s going to lose that battle but I like the way you work things out. Jess has connections she’s never even thought about exploring and her change in attitude towards some of her rich customers, which Dan has helped bring about, allows her to suggest a change in plans that gets Dan everything he wanted out of developing the cove but without spoiling this place she loves.
Dan starts out with an idea of the perfect doctor’s wife he wants to have and Jess definitely doesn’t fit the profile. But just as Jess learns that not all doctors are arrogant and selfish, Dan discovers that he doesn’t want a wife who meets some checklist acceptable to the local medical community. I like the fact that you include some details about Dan’s demanding schedule and actually have it impact their lives a time or two. Being a thoracic surgeon isn’t a cush “9-5 and no weekends” specialty.
Everything’s going along great in their relationship but then comes a final Big Mis that threatens it all. I couldn’t help but feel that Jess flew off the handle a bit. Yes, she doesn’t tolerate what she thinks of as being lied to but she never gives Dan a chance to explain his side of the story before ordering him out of her life. She redeems herself a bit in my opinion by being the one to go to Dan and apologize for her actions but the whole thing felt a bit more like a manufactured “end of the book and we need a little more conflict” romance trope to me.
Jess’s son Adam has never known a father so in many ways he’s like the foster children Dan knew and still tries to help. The scenes of the two of them are touching without being sugary sweet as Dan knows what’s missing in Adam’s life and steps up to provide it for him. I especially love the final part of the book where Dan has his proposal all thought out but ditches it for the chance to help Adam catch his first red. That to me, and to Jess, proved that Dan had truly come of age as far as his feelings for Adam, fishing, the Cove and Jess were concerned.
“The Daddy Catch” is a far better book than the hokey title might suggest. The main conflict between Jess and Dan is not something settled with a short, frank conversation. Both of them move forward as individuals as well as a couple. Adam is a prominent part of the story and Dan is shown actually being a busy surgeon rather than it merely being a wallpaper profession. That last speed bump in the road to the romantic HEA didn’t feel quite right to me but otherwise I enjoyed reading this one. B