Friday, June 6, 2008

Perfectly Good Nanny by Paty Jager

TITLE: Perfectly Good Nanny
AUTHOR: Paty Jager
PUBLISHER: Wild Rose Press
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 62k)
GENRE: Contemporary romance
COST: $6.00

Carina Valencia has shown up at the Haven Ranch in southern Oregon to be a nanny to two children. Too bad the widowed father knew nothing about it, but he’s got his own problems to deal with. He’ll keep her around for the month she’s been paid for, but then he has to go back to his own life, trying to keep from losing his home to the bank and his daughter to her grandfather. Unless these two can find some kind of way to work it out…

Sometimes, I miss having a print copy of an e-book when I’m reading it. Then, I would have something to throw at the wall when I get frustrated, or to bang repeatedly on the table in hopes that will smash some sense into the characters. Of course, if I’d had a print copy of this book as I was reading, I can’t say for sure I wouldn’t have set fire to the thing.

I had such issues with the characters in this book, I’m not even sure I need to complain about the headhopping, or the unoriginality of the plot, or all the technical things an editor should have caught (when, oh when, will people learn the difference between passed and past?!?). Ultimately, I might be able to overlook – or at the very least, not care as much – about those kind of things if I fall for the characters. But honestly, I can’t remember the last time I read such a stupid heroine.

Carina is an ex-teacher turned nanny, recently divorced and had a miscarriage. First of all, what kind of logical sense does it make to anyone to become a nanny when you’re an emotional wreck from losing your own child? Seriously. Carina secondguesses every other move she makes. I can understand a little bit of getting back on the horse psychology, but in this case, it just didn’t make sense. Secondly, for being a teacher, she’s really not very smart. She doesn’t know to call a baby cow a calf, or that cows have multiple stomachs. When Brock – who owns a cattle ranch – is struggling to save a pregnant cow, Carina’s instincts are to leave it behind because it was raining and she was getting muddy. I don’t care if she’s a city girl, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know some basic facts or to understand that someone whose entire subsistence relies on his livestock can’t just abandon one because it’s a little wet outside.

But wait, there’s more. The first time Carina is left alone in the house, she decides to keep herself busy and dusts. She finds a packet of letters Brock had sent to his first wife – who is dead and he clearly still mourns because he considers her the love of his life – when he was in the military and they weren’t married yet. And what does Carina do? She sits down and starts reading them. She’s been there only a couple days, if that. This invasion of his privacy absolutely does not endear her to me, especially given that she’s such an idiot.

But Carina’s not the only one without a brain. Brock seems to lose his, too, along the way. See, his ranch is in danger of foreclosure. If he loses it, he loses his daughter. Big problem, right? Well, it turns out he has a house full of antiques, and Carina’s mom just happens to be an antiques dealer. Carina goes nuts when he leaves the house unlocked – forget the fact that it’s in the middle of nowhere and the nearest town is 45 minutes away – and tells him most of his furnishings are worth a fortune. Know what his first thought is? Not, “Oh, god, I could sell a couple pieces and pay the bank!” It's, “Oh, god, I can sell a couple pieces and get her to stay longer than a month!” The bank never even enters his mind. I mean, huh? Is he kidding me? I guess this is supposed to be some big romantic gesture that’s intended to make me all quivery in delight, but honestly, it just had me wanting to smack him over the head until he started thinking straight.

There’s more, you know. Like being expected to believe that a city girl like Carina who lives in Chicago freaks out about driving in snow. Or the epilogue that wrapped everything up in a tight little bow by telling us how the single biggest conflict in the story was resolved rather than showing us. Or…well, it’s a long list. Trust me on that.


4/10 – Headhopping, editorial mistakes, and idiotic/illogical characters and plotting made me fight not to skim.


4/10 – A nice guy, but stereotypical and dumb.


2/10 – So idiotic and unbelievable that I don’t for a second feel any sympathy

Entertainment value

3/10 – Unoriginal and headache-inducing

World building

6/10 – The ranch details are nice, but if she wanted to convince me the heroine was in any way a professional, she failed.



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