I have no idea why I chose this. Anything with children on the cover usually sends me screaming for the hills. Been there, done that. I don’t want my romance reading to be cock-blocked by demanding kids, thank you very much.
But I did, and here we are. And… I didn’t hate it. Why? Because … sometimes you need a big warm hug, and 2023 has so far been that, and then some.
This is a big squeezy cuddle of a book, with a grumpy/sunshine trope that will warm all but the hardest of stone cold hearts. Briefly, Gideon needs a nanny to help him look after baby Benson, after his long-term boyfriend walks out. He couldn’t handle the pressures of having a child he didn’t plan for, and I’m on the fence about whether that was an asshole move or not.
Along comes Toby, who is bright and breezy, charming and an all-round Good Guy, who forms an instant bond with baby Benson and gradually worms his way into Gideon’s wounded heart.
It’s a charming story, full of adorable moments and with Toby being the answer to all Gideon’s prayers (apart when he gives them all food poisoning, but no one is perfect.) It's a feel-good book with gorgeous characters that stop just short of caricature. Gideon isn’t too grumpy, and Toby doesn’t irritate with his relentless upbeat enthusiasm. Baby Benson cries and poos and makes a mess like any baby, which sounds bloody obvious but I’ve read one recently where the sprog did nothing but smile and giggle. Anyone with kids will know that shit doesn’t happen.
Another thing I'm on the fence about is the kind of unresolved issue of partner/paid nanny thing, which seemed to be left hanging. That and the boyfriend being portrayed as an asshole for not wanting a family were the only duff notes in an otherwise sweet book.
It didn't put me off checking out more of this author's work. N.R. Walker is a competent writer whose work I now trust, which is a big thing for me. I'll definitely give another one of their books a go. Perhaps one without kids in though, as there was plenty of baby talk in this one.
Finally, Gideon and Toby were cute together in the bedroom as well, and their intimate scenes didn't seem too weird, given there is a lot of baby content in the book. That's a balance which is hard to make, but this is a love story, NOT erotic fiction after all, and it's good to keep that in mind.
Gideon Ellery had the perfect life. Nice house, great job, and a long-time boyfriend. Weeks after adopting his nephew, his boyfriend splits, leaving Gideon a single father to a newborn. Overwhelmed, sleep deprived, and unsure how to navigate fatherhood, he’s asked to return to the office. He’s overwhelmed and at his breaking point.
Toby Barlow is back in Sydney after three years of studying, travelling, and nannying in the UK. He needs work and a place to live, and the perfect solution drops in his lap. After all, caring for a sweet baby in a beautiful home owned by a gorgeous single man isn’t exactly terrible.
Gideon isn’t too keen to share his life with a stranger, but his need for help is too great. Sunshiny Toby isn’t prepared for a grumpy Gideon or his utterly adorable son, Benson. Or how easily he slots into their lives. And Gideon’s not prepared for how much he needs Toby.
Or how much he wants him.
Neither is prepared for the complications of falling in love.
Now until March 20
March 1 - March 31