The Irresistible Mr. Sinclair


Rancher & the Amnesiac Bride

Taming Tall, Dark Brandon

Texas Baby

To A MacAllister Born
by Joan Elliott Pickart
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #1329, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-24329-4
To A MacAllister Born is an excellent example of a frustration I sometimes have with series books. If I’m dropped into the middle of a series (and this one combines two different series), I find myself spending far too much time trying to figure out who’s who and what’s been going on, to get any real enjoyment from the book.

To A MacAllister Born is part of Joan Elliott Pickart’s “Baby Bet” series, but most of the secondary characters are from another series called “The Bachelor Bet.” There doesn’t seem to be any actual betting going on, but even when the characters explained what the “bets” meant, I had no idea what they were talking about.

Adding to the confusion, there is a MacAllister family tree at the beginning of the book, primarily populated by people who aren’t even featured in this book. Whenever a new secondary character was introduced, I’d flip back to the chart, trying to place them. Since the chart refers to the “Baby Bet” series, and most of the characters in this book are from the “Bachelor Bet” series, the whole thing made me dizzy.

On the way to a new job and new life in California, architect Jack MacAllister stops in Prescott, Arizona, to draw up house plans for his friends, Brandon and Andrea Hamilton. While in town he becomes intrigued by an old Victorian home in a state of disrepair. He is even more intrigued by its owner, widow Jennifer Mackane, who happens to be dining room manager at his friend Brandon’s hotel, Hamilton House.

Jennifer is a single mom of an outgoing five year old named Joey, who is suddenly obsessed with having a daddy of his own like his best friend Sammy. Not a day spent with one of his loving uncles, but a daddy he doesn’t have to “give back” at the end of the day.

Joey takes to Jack immediately and once he discovers Jack owns a suit and tie just like the figure on a wedding cake, Joey announces Jack would make a perfect husband for his mom. Although Jack is quite taken with Jennifer’s son, he has no intention of ever getting married. It’s been his experience that most women are gold diggers, interested only in how much money he can bring to a relationship. A single mom in a dilapidated old house sounds like trouble.

Jennifer has no interest in forming a lasting relationship with Jack. Her relationship with her late husband was troubled and she is quite happy remaining single. Neither Jennifer nor Jack can ignore their growing attraction, can they put their pasts aside and form a future together?

Well, since Jennifer and Jack are two of the most self-absorbed characters I’ve read in quite awhile, I really didn’t care. Jack in particular. We’re reminded repeatedly that he thinks women are dishonest and sneaky, interested only in what he can provide financially. This guy is no Donald Trump. I didn’t understand what made him think he was such a terrific catch.

Jennifer’s hesitation in getting involved is understandable once the reason is revealed, but by then I had lost any faith in Jack.

The author did a wonderful job with the setting and the vintage Victorian home came to life. So much so that I was distressed when Jennifer decided to sell it. She should have kept the house and gotten rid of Jack.

If you have been following the Baby and Bachelor Bet series, you might get more that I did from this book. But if you haven’t read any of the series, this might not be the best place to start.

--Karen Lynch

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