Saturday, March 31, 2007

Feels Like Family

Well, this is it - The third and final installment of The Sweet Magnolias. I'm a little sad, truth be told. I did so enjoy my time with Maddie, Dana Sue, and Helen. But, like all good things, it has to come to an end. I feel pretty lucky, this book wasn't supposed to be released until April, but I found it while shopping out of town with my sis, and grabbed this baby up! So, just to refresh, if you haven't read the other two books, you can check out my dish here, and then go buy these books and read them in order. The good thing is, if you buy one, there is a coupon in the back for a dollar off the purchase of your next Sweet Magnolia book. I didn't use mine, that would mean cutting something out of a book, and I just could not do that. I know - NERD! And now, without further ado...

FEELS LIKE FAMILY by Sherryl Woods

Life can be full of surprises...

Helen Decatur spent a lifetime setting goals - getting through college and law school, opening her own practice, becoming financially secure and establishing herself as one of the most highly respected matrimonial attorneys in the state of South Carolina. Achieving those goals was a breeze compared to the one she's faced with now.

The most driven - and cynical - of the Sweet Magnolias, Helen is forty-two, single and suddenly ready for the family she's put on the back burner for all these years. Unfortunately, having a child at her age comes with lots of complications, not the least of which is the absence of a serious relationship in her life.

But Helen's not the type of woman to wait around for fate to step in. Taking charge of her own destiny puts her at odds with her two best friends, sets sparks flying with a man who doesn't want a family, and leads her straight into the most unexpected complication of

I actually liked this BCC, but it is a bit misleading, if only in a small way. The only thing I can argue with is the "puts her at odds with her two best friends" part. They do have a tiff, but not really like this makes it sound. That isn't something that would sell the book for me anyway, but perhaps they thought making it sound more serious would entice readers. I don't know, but honestly, the beef I have with this one is so small it's inconsequential.

Helen Decatur has always been focused on being the best divorce attorney she could be. After a less than secure childhood, Helen swore she would never lack for anything, and when the time was right, neither would her children. Unfortunately, Helen was so focused on her career and being the best, she never got around to the children part. At forty-two, Helen's biological clock has started ticking, and it if the noise it's making is any indication, it has a bomb on the other end.

Never the type to jump into something blind, Helen has been reading books, seeing high risk obstetricians, and weighing the options of how to have the baby. But Helen doesn't want her child to be born from some impersonal injection, and when her friends start to question if Helen really wants to have a baby, she starts to question herself.

But when Karen, a single mom with two kids and a deadbeat dad who works for Dana Sue, shows up in Helen's office asking for help, Helen steps in. In order to help Karen save her job and her mind, Helen takes on Karen's two kids as she gets the help she needs to get her life back on track.

Erik Whitney went to culinary school after his wife and unborn child died, and as an EMT he had been helpless to save them. When Dana Sue Sullivan hired him right out of school to be her pastry chef at Sullivan's in small town Serenity, Erik finally felt like he had found a place to forget the pain. Erik and Helen have always had a spark, but coming from opposite ends of the attitude scale, they both knew they would never be more than friends. So why the heck did he kiss her? And why the heck can't he get her off his mind? And now that Helen is taking care of Karen's kids, Erik seems to be spending more and more time with the uptight woman. Only she doesn't seem so uptight anymore, and Erik isn't sure how much longer they can put off the inevitable of ending up in bed.

When Karen is strong enough to have her kids back, Helen is devastated until she realizes that without a doubt she wants a baby. She even has a perfect plan to accomplish just that.

So when an angry and crazy ex-husband of one of Helen's clients goes off the deep-end and decides that Helen must pay for the settlement she got his ex-wife, Erik steps in to protect Helen and she moves into his house for a while. And when opportunity knocks, Helen has never been one to ignore it. If she can just avoid her very astute friends, and protect her heart, she'll have a baby in no time.

What Helen didn't expect was how hard it would be to let Erik go, and how very much he had lost and why his feelings were the way they are. Helen may eventually get what she wants, but it may be just the thing that can turn her entire life into turmoil.

When I first started reading FLF, I wasn't sure I liked how Woods had Helen keeping Karen's kids. I wasn't sure how it would all play out and it seemed really - I don't know - off. But it wasn't long and I was sucked into the story just as I was the other two, and forgot all about my first misgivings. Helen has always been my favorite of the Magnolia's, strong and confident, loves her friends fiercely and would do anything for them. Helen is just the kind of woman that you want on your side, but Lord knows she needs taken down a notch. It was really nice to see the woman that sees nothing good in marriage after so many years in divorce court, find love.

Feels Like Family, was the perfect way to end the trip to Serenity, I would have liked to see Maddie and Dana Sue a little more at the first of the book (it isn't until Chapter 5 we even see Maddie) but eventually they show up and bring the guacamole and margaritas, with a side of tough but unconditional love.

I enjoyed the contrast that Karen's situation had with Helen's, but I also liked that deep down, Karen and Helen both needed the same thing - Love - and watching them tackle their personal demons was wonderful.

Erik was the type of Hero every woman wants. The man can cook, has a protective streak a mile wide, and is good looking. He's flawed and that too, made me really love him more. Erik wasn't the only one with demons to fight, and with The Sweet Magnolias, Erik found himself, too.

So, I'll say it again, READ THESE BOOKS! Grab your best girlfriends, guacamole, and margaritas, and enjoy life with The Sweet Magnolias. Laughter, love, family and friendship can get us through anything in life, and Woods serves it all up in this wonderful trilogy.

Take Care


dee said...

Ok, I simply refuse to read the review, because I don't want any spoilers, but after reading the other two reviews for this series, and buying this book just last night, I have to say that I can't wait to read it. I will get to read it, as soon as I read the second book in the series. And I will read the second book in the series as soon as I can find it. It's in my house somewhere, I know it is. I just don't know where.
Can't wait to read it though, because you've said wonderful things about it. And can't wait to read this one as well, because I REALLY REALLY like Helen and want to know her story.

Caffey said...

Dee, I've been reading about these books here from you and too so many times checking that at like amazon and harlequin, trying to decide if i'd like to read them.
So they are romances within them right? Just not a friendship story (woman's fiction) right? Gosh I love small town stories. I'm so tempted!

DeeandDee said...

Caffey - Yes, they are Romances. Each bbok is the story of one of the three Magnolia's finding love but they also have wonderful subplots as well.

Caffey said...

Ok Dee. I'm gonna put these down. Sometimes when I keep seeing something over and over it means to 'get and read me' so that I shall write down to my wishlist!

dee said...

swend me an e-mail with your address and I'll send you the first book. When you read it, you'll know that you have to get right out the door and buy books 2&3. I don't normally do this, but I find myself with 2 copies of the first book, so I'm more than willing to share. Silly me! I guess I bought one the other day on accident, when I was making my purchase of FLF. I'll be happy to send it your way.