I am not a reader who sweats the small stuff. If the story has a couple of undotted i’s or a badly crossed t, but is otherwise all right, I’ll likely let it go with a grumble or two. But Loving You suffers from such a major plotting flaw that reading it was not a pleasurable experience.
Tasha Flynn was once a homeless runaway. She was rescued by Mimi Castle, who took her in and gave her a home. Several years ago, Jonas Baker came to live with them and they formed an untraditional but loving family.
Nick Candellano was once a star for the National Football League until an accident blew out his knee and cut his career short. Now he is back home, reporting on local high school games and suffering a deep identity crisis. When he gets served papers naming him the father in a paternity suit, he is astonished. Yes, he was quite the football slut, but he always used protection.
Nick is being sued by Jonas Baker, whose mother had told him that Nick was his father. When Nick consults with his lawyer, he finds out that Jonas’s foster mother is Mimi Castle, and when he goes to see her, he finds Mimi is not there, but Tasha is, and she doesn’t want him around. However, Jonas is overjoyed, and Nick can’t help but be touched by the boy’s faith in him.
But where’s Mimi Castle?
This is the big problem I had with the book. Mimi is dead, and Tasha knows that with her bad background, Social Services would not let her be Jonas’s foster mother, even though she has a good job as a beautician now. So she conceals Mimi’s death, leading the social worker to believe Mimi is on an extended European vacation. Meanwhile, she’s banked Mimi’s Social Security checks and plans to take Jonas and run if it comes to that. Nick’s entry into their lives totally disrupts her plans.
Concealing a death is illegal! Where is Mimi’s body? Where is the death certificate? I mean, you simply can’t dispose of a corpse in the recycling bin. Then there’s the small fact that Tasha has been defrauding Social Security. The book never explains, and Tasha does not get in any trouble. As a reader of fiction, I long ago learned how to suspend disbelief, but there’s a limit for all of us, and Child surpassed it here.
I liked Nick and Tasha well enough as characters. They were bland but not annoying – hardly a sterling recommendation, particularly as they struck no sparks at all as a couple. After spending a lot of time resenting him, all of a sudden, Tasha realizes that she loves Nick, and once that revelation hit, all I could do was mutter, “If you say so,” and continue reading. I did enjoy how Child showed Nick’s struggle with the loss of his career. Football had been his life and his identity for so long, that he was bereft and angry when he could not play anymore. Jonas was a pleasant kid whose faith in and love for Nick showed him that there is life after football.
I recommend taking a pass on Loving You. The story is too far-fetched and the characters and romantic involvement are too bland. Quite a deadly combination.