You Belong To Me
You Belong to Me is the third in the ambitious twelve book Montana Mavericks series from Silhouette, and the only one in the series written by Jennifer Greene. It is also another “man finds out about his love child” story, which, although done tastefully by Greene, is a storyline just tad bit overdone to my thinking, and unfortunately You Belong to Me is not an example of Greene at her best.
Pediatrician Blake Remmington moved back to Whitehorn Montana after a failed marriage and the surprise discovery that he is actually the illegitimate son of a recently deceased ne’er-do-well wealthy rancher – one illegitimate son of many (thus the Montana Mavericks story line). His life is in chaos and he doesn’t know where he fits in the grand scheme of things, so he decides to take a position at the local pediatrician’s office and get a chance to explore what all this means to his life. He doesn’t get much opportunity to make peace with himself, though, before he is polaxed with the discovery that he has a six-year-old son whom he never knew existed.
Serena Dovesong has done her best to raise a charming 6-year-old boy by herself, giving him gifts from both her Cheyenne and white heritage and finding joy every day in the life she has been given. She chose to raise Nate alone, knowing that if Blake knew about Nate he would do the right thing by her and she didn’t want him to marry her out of duty. If not for her emergency trip to his office due to Nate’s allergic reaction to a bee sting, Blake might never have discovered for himself that Nate was his son. His age, allergy, and certain features give his parentage away to Blake, and Blake soon begins to insinuate himself into their lives a bit at a time, choosing to be a part of the lives of his son and the woman he always loved.
Despite the overly used secret baby plot device, the book has much to offer. Serena is a strong, positive heroine – she is at peace with the most of the choices of her life, and is generous and giving. Then too, author Greene has always had a gift for making children a believable and welcome part of her stories and Nate is no exception. He is cute, rascally, and busy – not not over-done by any means. There is both affection and passion between Serena and Blake, believable past histories and flaws in both characters, and the interracial issues are handled tastefully.
The problems I have with this book begin and end with Blake. Jennifer Greene has slowly gravitated from kind Alpha heroes to (I hate to say it) wimpy Beta heroes, and although Blake is strong and true and brave (like any Boy Scout), he is also whiny. After the fourth time of reading him think to himself how he is failing Serena and Nate I was rolling my eyes. And rolling them. And rolling them. He whined to himself and Serena about this fact until the very bitter end, and frankly I was thoroughly sick of it halfway through. The story also had a soap opera quality to it at times, but I think this was due to the whole Montana Mavericks theme, and not to Ms. Greene’s story telling abilities.
Jennifer Greene is an auto-buy for me. A Comfort Read. She writes with humor and affection and I almost always end up truly liking her characters and wanting the best for them. In You Belong to Me Serena and Nate definitely fill the bill, but Blake never reaches his potential as a true hero. Drat.
I also want to comment on the whole Montana Mavericks thing. Looking at the family tree displayed at the front of the book, I see more affairs and children born out of wedlock than any soap opera would have. What is up with that? Do the editors at Silhouette think their audience loves the whole idea of irresponsible, unfaithful people building a family dynasty? Do men born without knowing who their fathers are make for better heroes? According to this twelve book Silhouette series, yes, and hot damn!
For myself, I am reserving judgement. We will see.