Delinsky, whose bestsellers tackle the crises of family life, offers a story of growth for a woman and her adult daughter and the resulting painful divide.
Caroline MacAfee is head carpenter for MacAfee Homes and host of the popular home-improvement show Gut It!, which chronicles the company's building projects. The company is a family affair, run by patriarch Theodore; Caroline's ex-husband, Roy; their architect daughter, Jamie; and her fiance, Brad, the company's lawyer. Caroline avoids Roy and his young third wife, Jess, and their toddler, Tad, preferring the wood shop to the boardroom. But then the producer of Gut It! drops a bombshell—Caroline is being replaced as host by Jamie. Caroline is furious, feeling she's the victim of ageism, and irrationally blames Jamie for orchestrating her own promotion. Heartbroken Jamie adores her mother and doesn't want to host the show, at least not like this. But suddenly this conflict becomes much less relevant when Roy and Jess are killed in a car accident and Jamie is given custody of Tad, her half brother. Grieving and overwhelmed, Jamie has just a few days to learn the trick of being a working mother. (Brad is no help, suggesting Tad be given, like an old potato, to someone else.) As her mother is still not speaking to her, Jamie begins to rely on Chip Kobik, a hunky dad and former NHL bad boy she meets at the park. He helps her navigate life with Tad and realize what real love looks like. Meanwhile, as the new CEO, the often unsympathetic Caroline softens while keeping company with her longtime friend Dean, the company's general contractor and a surprisingly romantic tough guy. Delinsky effortlessly brings the components together—romance, career shifts, changes in parent-child relationships—and if the novel becomes occasionally clunky detailing an architect at work or a real estate deal in action, then the two charming romances make up for it.
A likable beach read with just a touch of gravitas.