REVIEW: Sugar Daddy by Nicole Andrews Moore
Dear Ms. Andrews Moore:
I’ll be honest — this book caught my eye because it shares a title with one of my favorite Lisa Kleypas books. What I found was a mostly engaging if relatively bland contemporary novel with a heroine who is a Mary Sue, and an uptight hero who unwound as he fell in love.
Hannah Matthews, an over educated under employed mother of twin girls, takes the girls on the annual Labor Day weekend family vacation while her husband stays behind. By the time she has returned, he has cleaned out their bank accounts, their apartment, and moved in with a surgically enhanced stripper. Try as she might, Hannah is forced to resort to desperate measures: finding a Sugar Daddy.
Gavin Meyers, affluent businessman, discovered too late that his bohemian wife wasn’t in love with him when he caught her in their bed with a lover…his sister. After a heated meeting with the lawyers trying to arrange the divorce agreement, his lawyer suggests he get a hobby and work out all his anger. He can’t think of a single thing he wants to do more than find some woman to punish for his suffering. And it just so happens, he stumbles across a personal ad that will serve his purpose. What kind of woman advertises for a Sugar Daddy?
When Hannah returns from a Labor Day visit to her parents to find that her scumbag husband has cleaned out their accounts and taken most of their belongings to move in with a stripper named Krystal, she’s at a loss. She’s got pre-school aged twins at home and not many prospects on her horizons. Her job doesn’t pay well, and she’s barely able to keep the girls fed, let alone put any money in savings. She decides to do the unthinkable, advertise for a “well to-do man” to take her and her children in.
Gavin Meyers is reeling from a divorce that hurt him and fueled an unbelievable anger in him. He’s determined to move on from the unbelievable infidelity his ex subjected him to, but is disinclined to date. So when he sees the advertisement in Creative Loafing magazine for a woman seeking what basically amounts to a sugar daddy, he’s intrigued. What sort of woman advertises for something like that? And why?
Hannah sets up a number of meetings with prospective sugar daddies, but none really suit her. Unbeknownst to her, Gavin is watching. He decides that she might be just the thing he needs to cleanse his palate. He approaches Hannah and offers her a position within his house and also his company. He offers to lease her a car, and allows her to make modifications to his home. As Hannah moves her belongings into his house, he admires how hard she works and the fact that she never asks for help. He also truly admires her parenting of her two small girls. She’s a great mother, a good cook, and lovely to look at. As she begins to make the mausoleum he was living in a home, he becomes more and more bewitched by her. But he’s reticent and uncomfortable changing what he has assured her is only a financial relationship into something more. And as he realizes how happy she make him, he begins to understand that many of the decisions he’s made in his life were made to make others happy, rather than himself. Falling in love with Hannah has turned his life upside down in the best possible way. Now he just has to convince her that she and her girls should take up permanent residence in his life as his family.
This book is an easy and unobjectionable read (once I got over the idea of advertising for a Sugar Daddy). It’s well written and nicely edited. The characters are unremarkable, but likeable. I liked Gavin and thought that it was refreshing how much of his perspective we got to see. He really was very uptight in the beginning of the book, and his evolution as Hannah and her girls integrated into his world was enjoyable to read. Hannah was a bit too perfect for me. She rarely complains, cooks well, is practically a master artist, is without fail patient and understanding with her children, she has flawless taste and is attractive. It made liking her a bit of a stretch for me. I’d have liked to have seen her be a bit more human and a little less perfect. I would qualify this book as “sweet” as opposed to spicy, with only a couple of relatively standard love scenes. These comments make it sound like I didn’t like the book. I did. But it’s one of those books that I won’t be able to tell you a thing about two weeks from now. Sugar Daddy gets a C+ from me.