REVIEW: Be My Baby by Meg Benjamin
Dear Ms Benjamin,
After I enjoyed the previous book in this series, “Wedding Bell Blues,” so much I was excited to see that the next book, about brother Lars, was available. From what went on in WBB, I knew that Lars’ bitch of an ex-wife, Sherice, would be there along with all the other crew characters: the other Toleffson brothers, their wives and sundry members of the small Texas town of Konigsburg. The question was, who would Lars’ heroine be and how would the love story play out.
Jessamyn “Jess” Carroll thinks she’s found a safe-haven for herself and her 9 month old son far away from her rich mother-in-law who is determined that the boy be raised with his Moreland kin, his rich kin, and not by the wife of the son whom Lydia Moreland despised. Lydia is willing to go to any lengths to get her grandson so Jess has fled halfway across the country and lives under the radar. But she steps into the world of the Toleffsons when she answers Lars’ ad for a baby-sitter for his 2 year old terror of a daughter, Daisy. The attraction between Jess and Lars is immediate but it doesn’t take long for Lars to see that everything isn’t as it seems with Jess. Now, can he do anything to help this haunted young woman? And better yet, how does he keep his matchmaking sisters-in-law from taking over the situation?
One really nice thing about this series is that I think new readers can jump in at any point. Yes, there are a lot of characters from the previous books to learn but I think you laid them and their relationships out logically here so it was easy to remember who is who. True, I did remember most of them from WBB but even so this book didn’t start with as much of an info dump and learning curve. As well, the characters haven’t done any 180 degree changes and mainly serve to further the relationship between Lars and Jess.
The humor of the characters adds a nice bounce to the story. Lars and Jess both add mental asides throughout the story which had me smiling and laughing. The dialogue, especially between the Toleffson brothers is great as are the scenes with the scary waitresses in the Dew Drop Inn.
The buildup of the plot involving Jess and the Morelands, and the reaction of the characters to the situation, seems realistic to me. No one immediately jumped on the OMG bandwagon yet at the same time, no one pooh poohed the possibility that Jess was telling the truth regarding what she was up against. I really liked seeing this from Pete the DA and Erik the policeman. And as the final showdown took place, brava for having those two have mini strokes at the short cuts that Lars the Warrior Accountant took to protect Jess and her baby. The fact that Jess feels fine about taking down her mother-in-law is also okay with me.
Thank you for not making baby Jack or Daisy be wittle angels. After all, we’re talking about a 9 month old and a 2 year old who are going to get singularly or collectively cranky at times. God help Lars when Daisy does start flashing her smile at boys for real. He will need to keep that baseball bat on hand. I did have one “oh, no you’re not” moment when Lars and Jess decide to spend the night doing the horizontal bed bounce after finding out that a villain is on the loose. True, I believed the reasoning that there probably, probably mind you, was no danger but still….
The means that the Toleffsons use to persuade, shall we say, the Morelands to better behavior sounds reasonable and more likely to take place than some major FBI investigation. I enjoyed seeing Erik be moved more into his brothers’ lives and would assume that a book with him as the hero is due next. I look forward to hearing his POV on his relationship with the other brothers. I did wonder at the speed with which Lars, who was repenting his hasty first marriage at leisure, dove into a marriage with Jess but I guess that’s twue lurve.
Anyway, it was nice to visit with the friendly folk in Konigsburg, TX again and I look forward to seeing Erik redeemed and, maybe, Wonder and Allie finally get hitched as well. B
This book can be purchased at Samhain in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.
I love this series. Flat out love it.
I’ll second that Sayuri! This series was one of the most enjoyable I’ve read in a while.
With all the issues surrounding pricing, windowing, etc. with the big “six”, a new author, series and publisher to me was most welcome. Yay Meg Benjamin & Samhain!!
People looking for a straight contemporary with no suspense (or very little but there’s NO serial killer!) which is not a paranormal need to check these out.
Thanks everybody! I’m so glad you liked Be My Baby.
These and the older Lauren Dane contemporary romance series about the Chase brothers are my favourite contemporary romance books of last year – bar the Nora Roberts Bride Quartet of course -, although Meg Benjamin’s series is first choice for fun contemporary and Lauren Dane’s for sexy (and one of them for scary = based on real life contact she has had with spouse abuse survivors) contemporary romance.
Actually I wouldn’t have minded if the slight abduction thread in the first novel of the series Venus in Blue Jeans hadn’t been there – the stand-off with that control-freak woman was enough suspense for me.
There’s a Christmas freebie with Wonder and Allie: Freebies: Love & Scones by Meg Benjamin
@Estara: Ooh, thanks for the information about the freebie!
@Jayne: For some reason on my browser the image for the book doesn’t show up, but if you click the blank part of that post you can still get to the full pdf. It’s a lovely story! Has a GREAT antagonist again. She just does lovely female antagonists, just like she does loveable female friendships and characters.
Addendum: I mixed up Christmas with Thanksgiving as the reason for the freebie. My non-USian mistake is hopefully not too horrible.
LOL. I love this rec because my biggest lament about some contemps is the serial killer/stalker that pops up. I get so mad when I am trundling along, reading a book and wait… there’s a stalker! Arrrgh! Thanks for reviewing these, I’ll check them out! They sound right up my alley.
I’ll just echo the “love this series” voices. Meg Benjamin writes such great characters, and makes it so easy to invest in the HEA. I’m looking forward to Erik’s book, and very curious as to what kind of heroine he’s going to end up with.
@Eva: There is some suspense as Jess has someone who is obviously after her child. But no killing!
Warrior Accountant vs. DA and Policeman: that was great. I love it when characters disagree for real reasons and it matters. (It did make me miss similar sorts of conflict among the women of that generation.) I liked seeing the tribulations of parenting, the toughness of a particular bad guy, and how the Morelands were stopped.
One smaller thing that struck me in this novel was how one waitress was described as wearing a midriff-baring outfit (the sort of thing that we’ve seen Docia wear) and having “melon”-sized breasts (also like Docia), but this one was surly and she had a roll of fat and the men didn’t think much of her, whereas Docia was a walking Venus. It seemed somehow gratuitous, especially in contrast to Chico’s characterization later on.