The Oldest Virgin in Oakdale

 
Undercover Nanny
by Wendy Warren
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #1710, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0373-24710-9
***
If one reads enough romance books, one might begin to believe that no one presents him or herself as who they really are. A growing trend involves building a relationship between two characters that are headed are a collision course because of the facts they are hiding. Undercover Nanny is one of those trendy stories. It is written better than others and thus earns an acceptable rating.

D. J. (for Daisy June) Holden is a P.I. who thinks the family business is about to sink. It’s owned by her foster father, and she is determined to bring the business back to life to help him recover from his grief over the loss of his wife. Daisy is sure once he comes back to his senses he will be thankful and continue to love her. See, Daisy grew up knowing her parents did not want her. She went from foster home to foster home until ending up with Bill and Eileen, a couple who welcomed Daisy into their home when she was 12. They are the only family she has known, but she doesn’t trust permanency and is sure no one can love her on her own merits.

DJ is hired by a gruff old woman who happens to be the CEO of a large corporation. Loretta Mallory needs to find her grandson and investigate him to determine if he is equal to the task of taking over the corporation in order to keep it in the family. Loretta became estranged from her daughter many years before and has no one else.

Max Lotorto hates his grandmother on his mother’s side. He only met her once, but she was cold and he disliked her due to the way she treated all of his family. Max was a successful accountant who decided to chuck it all and move to southern Oregon. He bought a slightly rundown farm and is determined to open up a restaurant/bar. However, his life is currently in chaos because he also has to raise a family of kids, thanks to his deceased cousin, Terry – Anabel (age 11), seven-year-old twins Sean and James, and Livie who is just four. They are delightful children and Max has grown to love them. Now he just needs a nanny.

Daisy decides to be that nanny – giving her reason to snoop around his house and get the whole picture she needs for Loretta. But a funny thing happens on the way to investigator heaven – Daisy falls for Max and the kids. And Max falls for Daisy. Too bad a huge lie is planted right in the middle of the relationship.

The tale is well-written and the characters, even the children, are well-defined. Max is a hero any woman could love and it is easy to see why Daisy falls for him so easily. He knows his mind and readily accepts the children, certain his love for them will guide him in providing a stable home life for them. He is gentle, caring, and firm when he needs to be. Max has been looking for his soul mate and he finds it in Daisy.

Daisy is deeply insecure but she has done such a good job convincing herself she is strong and independent that she actually lives that way much of the time. When those insecurities pop up, it is understandable and therefore, true to her character. Most of the time, she is strong-willed and optimistic, making her a heroine the reader can like. What is distracting is the fact that the reader can see the disaster coming yet Daisy chooses not to tell the truth.

Another slight distraction is how easily Daisy takes to being the nanny for four children under age 12. Her understanding of what is important to children does help her get through several situations, but it is a tad too easy too. Luckily the quality of the writing and the depth to the characters keep this from killing the tale.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. The resolution is well-written and keeps the momentum towards the satisfying climax. Undercover Nanny is an enjoyable book. But there have got to be some new plot conflicts out there besides lying…aren’t there?

--Shirley Lyons


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