In author Jacqueline Diamond's latest novel, Falling for the Nanny, high school sweethearts Patty and Alec are reunited when this single father hires P.I. Patty to keep his daughter safe, not realizing that he will be putting his heart on the line!
Whitney: This story really is the perfect illustration of what you can expect when you pick up a Harlequin American Romance story, from the small-town setting that realistically lends itself to everyone being in each other’s business to the sweet nature of this romance between re-connected high school sweethearts.
Morgan: It was interesting for me because usually I don’t read the Harlequin Americans. I’m not really sure why not. But this one was right up my alley. There is something really comforting about a sweet read where the hero and heroine genuinely like each other. No artifice, no games. Just a real-life friendship that turns into more.
Whitney: And it’s no wonder that Patty and Alec like each other. Both are incredibly likable and memorable characters. I personally thought that Patty was a breath of fresh air as a heroine. Patty likes answers and she wants them now. There’s no dithering around for this almost masculine heroine.
Morgan: There is definitely a role reversal going on. Divorced dad Alec is the maternal one, who is the primary caregiver for his young daughter whereas Patty is the tough-as-nails bodyguard. This was an interesting dynamic. I personally felt that the author went a little over the top with Alec literally "creating life" as an embryologist helping women get pregnant and Patty so overly masculine that she won’t even wear a dress as a bridesmaid (she opts for a tux instead). But it definitely gets the point across.
Whitney: This aspect of Patty and Alec really worked for me. Because Patty is so different, I was really interested to see who would make her a good partner. And given how much I liked Patty, you know she must be something special since I normally connect more with very feminine heroines rather than the more masculine ones. I think that this plays into my dislike of urban fantasy stories, where often, in order to stay alive, the heroines have had to let go of “the frilly parts of life.”
Morgan: Now see, one of the reasons that I love the urban fantasy heroines is their no-frills characterization — they have a job to do and they do it — no messing around. Which in a way is definitely similar to Patty’s attitude about her work. Even though she is no longer a police officer, she still takes on the responsibility to “serve and protect”. Whether it means she is on a stakeout so long that she worries her bladder will burst or she takes an elbow to the eye trying to subdue a suspect or even takes on a temporary position as a nanny — one that she doesn’t feel prepared for, Patty does what is necessary to make sure that the job gets done and that the people counting on her get results.
Whitney: I liked that for all of Patty’s strength, she is very self aware about her vulnerabilities as well. She is particularly honest about her lack of knowledge when it comes to kids. This lack, because I don’t want to call it a flaw, made Patty so much more sympathetic, I felt like I could really relate to her.
Morgan: It’s really nice to see another romance that, like Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me among others, acknowledges that not all women are born with innate parenting skills or the desire to have children. Mothering is a hard job and Patty is quick to say that she just does not know how to take care of a 4-year old. Fortunately for her and Alec’s daughter Fiona, she learns fast.
Whitney: Let’s talk about Fiona. That kid really steals the show; she is just a joy to read about!
Morgan: I couldn’t agree more. She has such personality, which Patty immediately recognizes. Patty treats the young girl like a person and doesn’t talk down to her.
Whitney: It’s lovely to see a situation where a child is so well loved.
Morgan: She may be well loved, but well cared for is another matter. After all her own mother left her locked in a parked car in the middle of summer ...
Whitney: Which is exactly why Alec left his ex-wife Sabrina. He knew that she was unstable and could possibly harm their daughter. But I don’t think anyone could have seen it coming that Sabrina was going to threaten to kidnap her own daughter.
Morgan: You are right, Sabrina takes her drama queen role to the extreme when she tells Alec that she is going to take Fiona out of the country regardless of what the court says. But surely, Alec had some inkling that Sabrina the Manipulator was going to be trouble. I think it shows extremely bad judgment on his part that Alec broke up with Patty so he wouldn’t be tempted to step out of line and then he goes and hooks up with someone so completely unstable. Talk about going from bad to worse.
Whitney: But when Alec’s relationship with Sabrina began, he thought that she was a 'more acceptable' version of the troubled teen he’d fallen in love with in high school. At one point he even reflects that part of what drew him to Sabrina was that she, at least on the surface, had the same zest for life that Patty did. Ugh, I think it’s hard not to feel bad for Alec, talk about a hero who doesn’t trust himself!
Morgan: I don’t think he should trust himself. He has a horrible track record. Interestingly enough, it is his once-snobby mother Darlene who points out what a catch Patty would be. Ironic almost, because it was Darlene’s influence that had teenage Alec breaking up with her.
Whitney: I think the thing that turned the Patty-Darlene relationship around was when Patty throws Fiona the “teddy bear hospital” birthday party. It’s hard not to think of Patty as perfect mother material when she comes up with such a quirky, fun idea!
Morgan: It was more than just the party that swayed Darlene’s mind. It was the constant attention and love she showed the girl. Patty, for all of her fun loving ways, proves herself to be steadfast and loyal. Even Darlene has to admit that she made a mistake by judging the teenage Patty too harshly.
Whitney: Diamond really did a great job of illustrating the growth in all of the characters in Falling for the Nanny. And I’m not just talking about the main characters here, now the author has me intrigued by all of the many secondary characters as well, from Fiona’s nanny, Tatum, who heads back to Boston when the situation gets really crazy, to nurse Baily who is carrying her sister’s baby, each of the secondary characters is drawn with such detail.
Morgan: And don’t forget Patty’s boss Mike — he is the organized, collected type that could really use a whirlwind relationship to loosen him up …
Whitney: I can’t wait to find out which one of the Safe Harbor residents we learn about next!
If you want to find out what happens to Patty, Alec and co., you can pick up your own copy of Falling for the Nanny in stores now. And while you are there, or shopping around online, you can pick up the book we will be feasting on for next week’s Dish, the new romantic suspense tale Beg For Mercy by Jami Alden.