The Baby Bump
I’m all in favor of unusual settings for romances, so when I discovered that The Baby Bump is set on a South Carolina tea plantation I was excited. But while I liked the setting, and enjoyed parts of the book, I found the heroine hard to like, and the hero’s adoration of her hard to understand.
Ginger Gautier spent much of her early years on her grandparents’ tea plantation in South Carolina. She eventually became a successful hospital administrator in Chicago, but is back in South Carolina to care for her ailing grandfather. The fact that she’s pregnant and has broken up with the baby’s father is just an added complication.
Ginger is horrified to discover just how sick her grandfather really is, and how run down his home and the plantation have become. She’s also appalled when she runs into a charming younger man on the plantation. Leaping to a wild conclusion, Ginger decides he’s out to scam her grandfather. She soon discovers that Ike is the town doctor and is helping her grandfather. Right from the first Ike is fascinated by Ginger; Ginger isn’t quite as impressed and particularly dislikes Ike’s dog. The dog is deathly afraid of everything, drools on everything and everyone, and clings incessantly to Ike.
This book is a bit of a mixed bag for me. As an avid tea drinker I was fascinated by the setting and intrigued by some of the steps Ginger takes to try and get the plantation functioning and profitable again. But for most of the book I just didn’t care for Ginger. We’re told several times that Ginger has a mean streak and is difficult and contrary, and she seems to be all of those things. She’s also grumpy, stubborn, and sounds a bit dated at times (using expressions such as “bet your sweet bippy”).
In contrast, Ike is much more likeable. He gave up a cardiology post at prestigious hospital to work in the small South Carolina town of Sweet Water. He’s a disappointment to his parents who are both high powered surgeons. Ike seems to be adored by everyone in town with the exception of Ginger. All of the single ladies leave food for him and many are trying to become his wife.
Ike has some endearing characteristics. He appreciates laziness and takes time for naps in recliners, takes time to fish, and takes time to camp out with his nephews (the children of the hero and heroine from Little Matchmakers). In fact, my main problem with Ike is his fascination with Ginger. I get that she’s attractive, but with all of the women in town throwing themselves at Ike, the only reason I could find for him to like Ginger was sexual attraction. Not that that’s a bad thing, I just thought he could do better.
Despite my problems with Ginger, this was an easy read, and I didn’t hate it. In fact, I might have given it a slightly higher grade but the ending felt a bit abrupt. While Ike and Ginger definitely get a HEA, many parts of Ginger’s life are left unsettled. I know that’s realistic, given the nature of the problems, but combined with Ginger’s ornery nature, it dropped my assessment.