Monday, January 4, 2010

In Which Trai Reviews 'Mother To Be'

The Book: Mother To Be

The Author: Tanya Michaels

How I Found It: Random browsing online and in a used bookstore.

The Review: Delia Carlisle is forty-three and pregnant-- not a place she ever expected to be, given that she believes that, due to her parents' failed marriage, romantic love isn't something that will ever apply to her or her relationship with her live-in boyfriend, Alexander DiRossi.

Even as Delia attempts to figure out how to shift her world to suit the impending new arrival, and wonders how to tell Alexander, Alexander himself realizes after a visit to his close-knit Italian family that he wants more with Delia. When Delia's revelation leads him to propose to her that much quicker, Delia rejects him, not wanting to make the mistakes her parents did by making a commitment she's not sure of.

In addition to dealing with Delia's relationship to Alexander and to her unborn child, the book takes a look at her relationships with her two best friends and, later, another expectant mother that Delia wishes to help. Delia attempts advice-giving on all of these people, not always realizing that her fiercely independent, stubborn ways could drive a wedge between her and the other people in her life-- and that she will have to let people in and let herself love before she can really be happy.

My feelings about the book were middling. There were some nice touches and some things I didn't always like. For example, the nickname of "Ringo" for Alexander (since her friends' husbands are named George and Paul) just came off as silly and unnecessary for someone of Delia's age who is serious in most ways.

I was also getting tired of Delia's stubbornness about love by the end-- I suppose my issue with reading romance novels will always be my need to shout at the book "BUT IT'S RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU DAMMIT WHY CAN'T YOU SEE IT." I appreciated the sort of feminist perspective and Delia's need for independence, but eventually it just came off as repetitive and TOO stubborn about being alone. The book also felt a tad unbalanced-- so much of it was in Delia's perspective; comparatively little was from Alexander's. I would have liked to see more from his side, but since the storyline was generally about the pregnancy, it makes sense for it to be mostly on Delia's.

For all the little things that annoyed me, there were things I did like. The chapter quotes, taken from Delia's supposed musings in a baby journal after the child is born, were well-done and fit with the themes of the chapter. I did enjoy the storyline of Delia helping the other expectant mother, Joanne; it was nice to see a mentoring relationship in addition to the romantic relationship and friendships presented.

Overall, the book had a good story that was developed well, but got frustrating at points due to the heroine's refusal to commit herself to anything serious. The two leads and the supporting cast were fairly well-drawn as well. Recommended to fans of romance.

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