The Sweetest September
During college I found a copy of LaVryle Spencer’s Separate Beds. It’s the love story of two people caught up in the drama resulting from a pregnancy that occurred after a one night stand. In that book Spencer deals with an era without paternity tests, two very young protagonists and a belief system that doesn’t give them the option of abortion. It’s by no means a perfect read but I found it a very compelling one. This novel takes the same starting scenario of a pregnancy from a one night stand and pulls out all the drama to deliver a saccharine story about two people who fall in love while planning for baby. It’s not a bad book but it is not an especially believable tale either.
Shelby Mackey has experienced a lot of lows in her life but the night she pulls into Boots and has drunken sex in the bathroom with a virtual stranger might just be the lowest point yet. The two part ways immediately after the deed is done and both hope to never clap eyes on each other again. Shelby, at least, believes this is likely to be true. She lives in Washington, he lives in Louisiana. Their paths shouldn’t ever have to cross.But wouldn’t you know it, Shelby winds up pregnant in spite of the fact they used a condom. Determined to do the right thing, she heads to Louisiana to tell him in person that he will soon be a father. She doesn’t expect anything from him but she does want to let him know he has a child who will share his DNA in this world.
John Beauchamp never thought to see the sexy blonde he had a one night stand with come striding back into his life and he sure didn’t expect the information she throws at him. But he and his late wife had wanted kids and it looks like providence has given him a second chance. He tries to talk Shelby into staying for a while but she is determined to go home. Then she starts cramping and bleeding right there in his house and he has to rush her to the doctors. Everything is okay but Shelby is put on a week’s bed rest. No travel till the doctor is sure everything has settled down. Whisking her off to the inn owned by his sister, John realizes that he will have a chance to really get to know his baby mama. And to maybe convince her to stick around and let him be a part of his kid’s life.
Everything goes pretty smoothly for Shelby and John from that point on. Oh, there is the requisite misunderstanding towards the end of the novel but it is pretty much smooth sailing from page one. John’s response is far beyond the best case scenario most women would dream up for this situation. He steps right in and supports Shelby in ways men with longer relationships to their expectant significant others often don’t. Right from the beginning the two find that even though they were raised in very different worlds they have a lot in common and really do like each other beyond just their initial physical attraction. And Shelby actually fits into John’s life better than her own. Small town, middle class living suits her much better than the wealthy, sophisticated life of her family in Washington. Everyone is very warm, welcoming and accepting of John and Shelby, both of their situation and of them as a couple.
There is one noticeable exception having what I would consider a rather average human response to the situation. We don’t spend a lot of time with that person but they did insert a tiny bit of reality into the tale. The rest of the story, though, seems like a too good to be true fantasy of what having a baby from a one night stand would be like.
The book had some good points, such as the realistic relationship portrayed between John and his late wife Rebecca. The story didn’t deal with many of the issues which should surround this kind of situation but it did at least give lip service to them. We do get to see John question how he should be feeling in terms of his grieving process and how he is feeling towards Shelby. But for the most part, this is a sugar cookie of a tale, so light and sweet your teeth almost hurt after biting into it.
The book is well written and if this is your cuppa, I think you might enjoy it. Readers looking for a bit more reality in their tales though would be well advised to stay away.