08 February 2007

Book Review: Daisy’s Back in Town by Rachel Gibson

Daisy’s Back in Town Daisy Monroe has returned to her small Texas hometown after being widowed. Her purpose is to track down high school boyfriend Jackson Parrish, give him the letter written by her late husband (Jack’s former best friend) - and inform him that her teenage son back in Seattle is, in fact, his. It quickly becomes obvious that this is not going to be easy; in Jack’s opinion, the sooner Daisy gets out of town, the better. He won’t speak to her, she leaves, she tracks him down again, he refuses to speak to her, she leaves ... et cetera ad tedium. Then all that high school lust reappears to complicate things and her son arrives from Seattle and drops by Jack’s garage to take a look at his biological father (Daisy and Steven told him the truth). Wouldn’t you know it, under the spiky haircut and dog chains he’s a ringer for Jack’s old man. The secret is out in the worst way possible and there’s a lot of mess for Daisy and Jack to work through before they can reach their happy ending, if anyone cares by that time.

I didn’t.

By the time it was revealed that Jack hated Daisy because she had ditched him and married his best friend the same week he buried both his parents, I’d already written him off as a pain in the arse. And any sympathy I felt for him vanished when he began scheming to secure custody of Nathan, even going behind Daisy’s back to make the kid an offer he couldn’t refuse (a holiday job at the garage restoring classic cars) and telling her if she didn’t want to stay in town, she could leave. I didn’t think much of Daisy either. Once she realised Jack wouldn’t talk to her, why keep tiptoeing around with the we-need-to-talk line? (Guaranteed to send any man running for cover.) Just tell him straight out, drop the letter in the post, and go home. (And if you are going to go to such lengths as crashing his niece’s birthday party, at least have the sense to take the letter with you.) Because of all these delays, it was close to the end of the book before I found out that after his parents’ deaths Jack pushed Daisy away, she got upset and turned to Steven (as was her habit whenever Jack slighted her) and Steven took advantage of her doubts to snare her for himself. It was too late for me to begin caring then.

The final thing that irritated me was the ending. When Jack proposed to Daisy (it was true love, apparently) he told Nathan they’d be living in Lovett - without consulting Daisy. And despite it being barely a year since the death of the man who had raised him as his own, Nathan appeared to have no problem with his mother remarrying and uprooting him halfway across the country. Even my sizeable ability to suspend disbelief didn’t stretch that far.

Rating: D+

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Header image shows detail of A Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1776