The title gives readers a clear idea what they’ll find in British magazine editor Baker’s first novel—chick-lit romance with kids thrown in.
Magazine editor Eve, 32, falls in love with photographer Ian after meeting with him on a story about his wife, a famous journalist whose popular columns chronicled her losing battle against cancer. Now a widower, Ian is devoted to parenting his three kids: 13-year-old Hannah, eight-year-old Sophie and Eve’s avowed favorite, five-year-old Alfie. When Eve moves in, she quickly learns that stepmothering complicates romance, especially when there’s an angry, resentful teenager like Hannah involved. Through her best friend Clare, a never-married single mom of 14-year-old Louisa, Eve is soon meeting at Starbucks with Clare—who hated her own stepmother—and Clare’s younger sister Lily, whose boyfriend has a three-year-old daughter he keeps on weekends. Chinese-American Melanie also joins the women for coffee and support dealing with lovers and children. Divorced from a hedge-fund mogul, Melanie has just begun her own online shopping site and is dating a genuinely sweet man whose ten-year-old daughter she has yet to meet but is already nervously obsessing about. Then there is Mandy, a little older and more working class. Divorced with three adolescent sons at home, Mandy now lives with a man with two teenagers of his own. But the novel’s heart lies with Eve and to a lesser extent Clare. Although Ian is a wonderful father and lover, things fall apart for Eve when she becomes pregnant and he’s not ready to add another child to the mix. Meanwhile Clare, who has built her life around raising Louisa without financial help, hears from Louisa’s father Will for the first time in 14 years. Now a married doctor, Will wants to establish a relationship with the daughter he’s never met, and Clare feels understandably threatened at Louisa’s enthusiastic embrace of Will and his family.
Although Baker gives lip service to the needs of children and birth parents, her sympathies clearly lie with her self-absorbed stepmothers.