Ms. Miller & the Midas Man
by Mary Kay McComas
(Loveswept #874, $3.99, PG) ISBN 0-553-44616-9
****
Books as good as Ms. Miller and the Midas Man are part of the reason why I regret the apparently imminent demise of the Loveswept line. I hope Mary Kay McComas has lined up a big contract with another publisher. She's way too good an author to go down with the ship.

Ms. Miller reminds me of a car on a cold morning. It takes a while to get going, but once it's warmed up, it's running just fine. Augusta Miller or Ms. Miller, as she informs her hunk-of-a-next-door-neighbor, is starting a new career. Formerly an almost-virtuoso violinist, she's now an elementary music teacher and part-time violin teacher. Like a cloud over her head, she feels that her inability to live up to her own musical expectations is just part of a pattern. She's also certain that she's disappointed people she cares about by not living up to their expectations.

When Augusta meets next door neighbor Scotty Hammond, she steels herself. This newly hired high school principal and divorced dad of delightful Chloe is magnetic. Augusta doesn't want to become involved with him, only to disappoint him, too. Well, Scotty does want to become involved. He's been dubbed the Midas man. While he doesn't turn things to gold, everything he involves himself in has a good outcome. I can't remember reading about a better man. Here's how he sees himself.

"I'm just a man with good intentions. I like to be happy. I like seeing other people happy. I'm a simple man. So what I want and what's important to me are simple things."

How do you resist someone like that? Simple . . . you don't.

The heart of this story is their evolving relationship. The sub-plots are quickly resolved, although one, fairly long-running, is that of the senior play. Scotty uses a production of Wizard of Oz to involve the whole town. It's great to watch him in action. He's busy charming senior citizens to sew costumes and coaxing merchants to donate goods. He gets the most enjoyment from Ms. Miller, now allowing herself to be called Gus, as she works with the 'Munchkins.' All of this is told with building interest. The final production is really on two levels. The whole town has worked together for this production, and Gus finally sees that she's a good person, too and won't automatically disappoint Scotty. Her awakening unfolds on stage, culminating with a whopping big kiss that makes for an ending guaranteed to produce grins.

Reading Ms. Miller and the Midas Man reminded me of that first spring flower, a crisp autumn morning or seeing a kitty scamper across the floor. They make you feel good enough to smile. So does Ms. Miller

--Linda Mowery


@ Please tell us what you think! back Back Home