Cinderella Christmas

A Small-Town Girl

The Mommy Bride
by Shelley Galloway
(Harl. American #1212, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0373-75216-4
There were some fun moments in The Mommy Bride and some that were tender, at times a bit calculating in pulling on the heartstrings.† I didnít think I would like this story when I read the cover, but there is more than is first offered.† The title is awful, but donít let that steer you away.

Claire Grant got pregnant just out of high school, married the guy, realized he often drank and got abusive and then when her child was still small they ended up divorced and destitute, with Ray taking off and Claire homeless. She and her son Wes stayed in shelters and picked through garbage for aluminum for food and gas money.† Then she lucked into meeting a woman who helped see Claire through an illness, helped her get on her feet and find a job.†

Tessa and her husband are still her friends and strongest supporters.†† Claire still has that same job, as a receptionist in the local hospital. At thirty-two, she is sure her life is over in the romance department because she doesnít think she can ever trust a man again.† Wes is now thirteen and entering those torturous teenage years.† They get along great except when they donít.

Claire first meets Ty Slattery at the hospital where Ty is a third year resident.† He volunteers at the school and is both an assistant coach and trainer for Wesís wrestling team.†Ty finds Claire attractive but very shy.†Claire is drawn to Ty and finds herself tongue tied around him.† But he is too young for her (at 26) and definitely above her in the socio-economic world.†The barriers she puts up are high until the power goes out and they are forced to share some time together.

Ty, however, has a history of his own.† He is working his way through school on loans since both his parents are dead.† He had a loving father but one who struggled giving open affection. His mother deserted him before he was ten.† He remembers not always having everything.† And he too is dealing with a heart that was wounded when the love of his life decided he would be too poor before he got to be a rich doctor.

This story is fun.†Ty and Claire are tentative and it is this almost naivetť that makes it engaging.† Ty finds he is falling and willing to give Claire time.† Meanwhile he really enjoys Wes and wants a relationship with him even if he and Claire donít work out.† It is Tyís generous nature with Wes that is one of his most endearing qualities.†

When things happen and Claire ends up pregnant, it is not Ty who shies away.† Claire has some major issues to get through and she almost blows it.† The fact that the author resorted to some melodrama and a dose of overdone sentiment kept me from giving this a four-heart rating.† It is fun and engaging but it is also a bit manipulative in the ending.

Ignore the name and just enjoy the story contained in The Mommy Bride.†

--Shirley Lyons† †

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