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by Katherine Center

Pub Date: June 26th, 2007
ISBN: 1-4000-6637-9
Publisher: Ballantine

Ditched by her partner right before she gives birth, a young mother must decide whether to take him back or give a new love interest.

In the realm of adult responsibilities, Houstonian Jenny Harris knows her fiancé, Dean Murphy, comes up short. A retirement-benefits analyst who performs in a half-baked cover band, Dean still receives monthly checks from his well-heeled parents, smokes more than he should and moons over other women. He meets Jenny, in fact, while chasing a friend of hers, but when that doesn’t pan out, they settle into a live-in relationship, and he proposes marriage. Getting pregnant before the wedding, Jenny frets about Dean’s ambivalence toward impending fatherhood, especially after his peculiar response to a pretty coworker’s death. While Jenny quits her job at an antiques store and organizes a garage sale to prepare for their child, Dean clings to band practice and gigs at local dives. One night he walks out, leaving her with a breakup note and a baby due any minute. Daughter Maxie brings unexpected joys and burdens, which newly single Jenny shoulders with the support of her divorced parents, best friend Meredith, other mothers from her childbirth class and an attractive neighbor named John Gardner. A pediatric nephrologist who has taken up renovating and selling houses, John has an uncanny knack for appearing when Jenny needs him most. Nurturing, attentive and good with Maxie, he keeps Jenny company in a blackout and paints her garage when she decides to start an antiques business. His unobtrusive courtship culminates in an evening of margaritas and salsa dancing. But then Dean returns, seeking reconciliation.

Jenny’s decision will come as no surprise, but this debut novel offers credible descriptions of first-time motherhood, affecting characters and situations and low-key charm.