Diary of a Domestic Goddess by Elizabeth Haribson was originally posted at The Romance Reader in 2005. Back then, I gave it 4 Hearts (B grade) with an MPAA content rating of PG-13
Elizabeth Harbison’s latest for Silhouette Special Edition succeeds
where other romances have failed. She sells her story by writing about
real people – or at least characters who could easily be real people.
In fact, Kit Macy is likely one of the most “real” characters I’ve come
across in recent memory. Diary Of A Domestic Goddess ultimately wins because the heroine is a winner.
For the last several years, Kit Macy has been managing editor and columnist at Home Life
magazine, an outdated homemaker publication that Donna Reed would have
read back in the 1950s. Still, it comes as a shock when the magazine is
taken over by the powerful Monahan Group and the staff is given pink
slips. Kit needs her job. Not only is she a single mom to
four-year-old Johnny, she’s a millimeter away from closing on her dream
house. She needs to be gainfully employed, and now she’s desperate.
Therefore, she resorts to begging.
Breck Monahan puts Cal Panagos in charge of Home Life hoping
he’ll fail miserably. In order to salvage a shred of his once sterling
reputation, Cal has to make the reinvention of the magazine work – and
the first order of business is unloading a staff full of antiquated
ideas. However, Kit Macy won’t go away. In fact, she confronts him and
tells him that he cannot turn the magazine around without her. And
because he’s a sucker for a beautiful, determined woman, Cal agrees to
keep her on for two months. Secretly he knows he can do without her on
the job, but dang if her feistiness doesn’t intrigue the heck out of
him. Banter, libidos and double entendres are soon flying, with Kit
giving tit for tat.
Office romances tend to be a hard sell to the more cynical of readers,
but Harbison makes this fantasy work because Kit is very much a real
person. At the beginning of the novel she’s trying to juggle her
career, getting approved for a mortgage, writing her latest column, and
solving Johnny’s bully problems in preschool. All stuff that women deal
with every day, and like real women, Kit keeps running up against
obstacles that make it all the more hairy. When Cal shows up and fires
everyone a little piece of her snaps. She figures this is one instance
where she has to stand up to her own bully or she will lose everything.
Cal remains a bit of a mystery for a while, but he soon shapes up into
hero material. He’s a handsome, ambitious man with lady-killing charm.
He’s also determined to succeed at all costs, which makes him wonder
exactly what he was thinking with when he agreed to keep Kit on. He
figures it’s because she reminds him of a schoolboy crush, or that it’s
because he’s been neglecting his libido, but he soon realizes that in
order to succeed he truly needs her.
The focus of the story is always on the birth of the new magazine and
the romance. Monahan serves marginally as a villain, although he
remains firmly off stage. Johnny is precocious and sweet, but not so
annoying cutesy that he’ll give readers a toothache. I also enjoyed the
change of pace of The Ex Husband here, as for once he’s not The Bad
Guy. Kit actually has a healthy relationship with Rick, and while their
marriage failed, one gets the impression that they’re civil not just
for Johnny but because they do still genuinely care about each other.
Diary Of A Domestic Goddess is a quick, charming read that
succeeds thanks to well-drawn, realistic characters and witty dialogue.
Frankly, the state of romance would certainly get a shot in the arm if
there were more heroines out there like Kit Macy. She’s the woman you
see in the grocery store, at PTA meetings, or at your son’s soccer
games. She is Every Woman, and because she is, you really want her to
have her happily ever after. Because if it can happen to Kit, it just
might happen to that PTA mom you know.
Wendy Remembers: The cover. Honestly. The heroine's face is so tight and shiny it's like a combination of Botox and facelift that went horribly wrong. And what's with hero dude leering at her? Although nice touch having the kid's school picture on the desk. Anyway, superficial nonsense aside, since I just read another Harbison romance for the last TBR Challenge, I thought it would be fun to pull this old review out from the depths.