Friday, February 1, 2008

Running Down A Dream

Well it's official. I haven't been reading nearly enough Karen Templeton.

Yours, Mine...Or Ours? is the second book in a trilogy featuring the Vaccaro family. Rudy Vaccaro is a cop with a dream. After his wife abandoned ship when their daughter, Stacey, was six months old, Rudy did the only thing he could think to do - he ran home to Mom and Dad. But now Stacey is twelve, and Rudy is tired. Tired of putting his dreams on hold, tired of listening to everybody's advice on how he should parent his own daughter, and very tired of being a cop. So he empties his savings account and buys a dilapidated bed-and-breakfast in New Hampshire. Rudy knows it won't be easy, but he sees this as his ticket to a better life.

Of course once he arrives in the small town, chaos smacks him in the face. Stacey is convinced her father has ruined her life, and then he meets Violet Kildare. Violet used to work at the inn Rudy bought, and the old lady who used to own it swore to Violet that she'd inherit it after she died. Of course no will was ever found, the inn went to the old lady's daughter, and she couldn't unload the albatross fast enough to Rudy. After her ex-husband abandoned her and their two boys two years ago, Violet thought it couldn't get any worse. Big surprise, it has.

Rudy feels like a major shit-heel. OK, Violet's predicament isn't his fault, but he still feels responsible. Wanting to right a wrong, and realizing he needs the help, he asks Violet to come work for him. He needs someone to help restore the inn, plus a cook once they open for business. Violet loves that old house, and frankly with no other options, she agrees.

What I love about this book is that Templeton gives us characters that behave like real people. Rudy is a painfully nice guy who just wants to do the right thing. He wants to raise his daughter without interference and he wants to start having a life of his own. The minute he lays eyes on Violet he knows he's in trouble. He's basically been a monk for the past eight years, and one look at her wild red hair and sad eyes and he's practically begging. The snag is that Violet can't make up her mind.

Violet's husband Mitch was steady as a rock. He saved her from a horrible childhood, was a good husband, and wonderful-beyond-words father. Then two years ago - poof! Vanishing act! Even in hindsight Violet can't find any signs or signals she missed. When she asks for a divorce he doesn't contest it, but it doesn't keep the clueless moron from writing the occasional letter home. Leaving Violet in virtual limbo, and unable to move forward or back. Then Rudy comes along and all her pesky hormones start doing the mambo. And Lord knows the fact that he's so incredibly nice isn't helping matters either.

Everything about this story is really fantastic. The kids behave like kids, and while Stacey sulks like a typical 12-year-old, her angst doesn't last the entire story, nor is she used as the sole source of conflict (Thank you baby Jesus!). No, most of the conflict arises from the question of the inn and Violet's uncertainty about what she really wants out of her life. There were moments that I thought she should have been more angry at her idiot ex-husband, but the author handles the conflict in a believable, mature manner and the resolution wraps everything up beautifully.

I enjoyed this story just as much as the first book in the series, Dear Santa. I cannot wait until April when Kevin's story, Baby, I'm Yours, makes it's appearance. Really, an excellent series thus far.

Final Grade = A


Rosie said...

I bought this one based on your Dear Santa review. Then I went immediately to my UBS to look for Dear Santa since it was no longer on the bookstore shelves. No luck.

What do you think. Can I read them out of order?

Kay Webb Harrison said...

Have you checked Unless it sold out, they usually have a book for six months after its issue.

Holly said...

I just finished this, too, and loved it. I think KT is fast becoming an auto-buy author for me. And I thought Stacy was so cute.

I think they can be read out of order, but I'd check first, like Kay Webb Harrison said.

Wendy said...

Rosie: It is still available at eHarlequin and Amazon. That said, I think you can very easily read these books out of order. The heroine in Dear Santa makes a brief appearance in this book - but her back story isn't integral to the plot. I read it as an ebook on my Sony Reader or else I'd loan you my copy.....

Holly: I liked that Stacey was believable. She behaved like a 12-year-old, but her moments of angst didn't bog down the story, nor was she expected to be the sole source of conflict. When I bought this book I also got The Prodigal Valentine by KT. I'll have to read it soon!

Shannon Stacey said...

Karen Templeton has been my favorite author for a long time now, so it's awesome to see other people falling for her books.

If you liked Rudy in "Yours, Mine and Ours", I'd recommend hunting down copies of "Plain-Jane Princess" and "What A Man's Gotta Do". (Actually, I recommend all her books, and she writes real, blue-collar guys like nobody's business.)

sybil said...

Hey I get credit for this read too! How soon they forget. Sniff.

Wendy said...

Shannon: Downloaded several more of KT's books this evening. Now to find time to read them. I can't believe I'd never read her before, especially since the SSE line is one I naturally gravitate towards....

Sybil: You get credit for recommending the WHOLE series. Now to wait until April for the Kevin's story *sigh*

Shannon Stacey said...

Sybil, I was thrilled to see how much you enjoyed the series, too! :)

Wendy, they moved Karen to SSE when SIM became rom suspense only, but her books didn't change so you can dive into her SIM backlist without worries. *g* (That line between SIM and SSE when it came to non-RS was always a little fuzzy for me.)