by Jill Mansell
- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (November 5, 2013)
- ISBN-10: 1402283938
- ISBN-13: 978-1402283932
My Rating 4.5 of 5.0
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
He knows all about women, or so he thought...
Dexter Yates leads a charmed existence in London, with money, looks, and girlfriends galore. Life's fantastic until Dex's sister dies and his world changes overnight. Astonishing everyone, including himself, Dex leaves the city behind, takes charge of his eight-month-old niece Delphi, moves to a beautiful Cotswolds village, and sets about working on his parenting skills. His neighbors, including cartoonist Molly Hayes, seem friendly enough—but Dex can't shake the notion that he's missing something important.
Dexter is a charmer who has done well in work and financial investments and has great success with the ladies. His is close with his sister, Laura, and is thrilled when she has a darling little girl, Delphi. But eight months later Laura dies unexpectedly having named Dex to be guardian of the infant girl. Dex may know girls but not infants and he is thrown for a loop.
In shock Dex leaves London and runs to a village where he had looked to purchase a vacation house. Dex recalls that even though many of the town folk were not so warm to an obvious outsider, the next-door neighbor, Molly, was really friendly. Molly is a cartoon artist who worked hard to get a strip that is syndicated and helps her make a living along with money she earns by teaching art classes. She is clearly warm, considerate and an encourager. She listens to Dex’s heartache and his reasons why he can’t raise his niece. She acknowledges those reasons but challenges him pointing out that if he loves Delphi he could be responsible for the child and manage to take care of her.
Dex’s life-style hasn’t exactly set him up to be recommended as a parent choice but he is determined to convince the social workers he can and will change. He decides to move to the village where he is sure he will find help in the better environment for raising a child. When he returns Molly instantly falls in love...with Delphi. But she has to resist falling for Dex too.
Molly apparently is the first woman to reject Dex’s advances but she feels she must out of self-preservation. That doesn’t make it easier to watch him start dating an attractive, outgoing pediatrician, especially since the match seems to please the locals.
As Dex struggles with parenting and Molly tries to protect her heart, there are other family dramas and relationships breaking down and being renewed in the village. Dex and Molly are the primary characters but the secondary characters also enrich the village life and the story.
I found the book delightful, easy to read and hard to put down. Dex may not be the most likeable character as a footloose, easy going playboy but he does have charm and he does mature. Molly is a dear from the get go and you can feel her conflicted passions. Ms. Mansell imbues the characters with natural emotions of doubt, insecurity, reluctance to be rejected, and desire to be loved and find the right person to love. I could feel the angst of the characters and that kept me pulled into the story wanting good things to happen in the end. Which it does and it is a wonderful journey getting there so you don’t miss the important things!
I received this ARC from Sourcebooks for an honest review.
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