Other Debbie Macomber reviews can be found in the Archives.

Family Affair
by Debbie Macomber
(Avon, $6.99, G) ISBN 978-006-199713-6
If you are a Debbie Macomber fan, don’t be fooled. First, this is a reprint of one of her first stories and it is only 150 pages long. Yes, when you pick up the book it looks like a full length Macomber. But the small print on the cover promises a “bonus story.” This is actually a new author who won a contest. Her story is actually longer than Macomber’s. And finally, there are the last sixty pages of the book that are 2-3 page previews of eight different Macomber books.

Family Affair is a decent story. As I was reading it I enjoyed it, but the whole time I kept asking myself how she was going to expand this plot to last. Alas, she didn’t need to…it is a perfect good short story. The story follows Lacey Lancaster and her cat Cleo as they have to deal with neighbors Jack Walker and his tomcat Dog. Cleo ends up pregnant while Lacey just ends up with a really nice guy as a boyfriend. Of course, Lacey is recovering from a divorce and has to deal with her emotions before she can open her heart again, but Jack is one of the most patient heroes I have had the pleasure to read in a long time. He is almost too good to be true. There are some bumps in the road to romance, including Lacey’s perception of Jack as a playboy but the HEA is generally satisfying.

The short novella is by a new author named Darlene Panzera. It is entitled The Bet and centers around a small town where the locals vie for the hand of Jenny O’Brien, the owner of the Windy Meadows ranch. Of course, they just didn’t vie for her hand, they made a bet. Besides the locals, there was a new entry, Nick Chandler, who bet $10,000. Jenny took the bets in stride, since she really did need to get her land out of hock. But Nick isn’t just a local cowhand. He is the owner of a corporation who wants to buy her land so he can sell it to get out from under a bad debt to a nefarious gambler. As one can tell, these two don’t exactly start off on good footing and with the various lies floating about, it doesn’t look good. I had a difficult time getting engaged with the story especially knowing off the bat that Nick was lying and up to no good for Jenny.

You do get two for the price of one in this book, but I was so disappointed in the marketing of this book that I just couldn’t get around it. For me, this is not worth the time or effort. For others, this may be just enough Debbie Macomber to satisfy.

--Shirley Lyons

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