Joe Burgett is a complex man. By day he’s a carpenter and a favorite uncle – an every guy. But on his own time he turns into L. Wood Dowd, wildly popular children’s author and illustrator who’s created a series of books about lovable monsters who have unlikely problems, like being afraid of the dark. In order to keep his life normal he’s shrouded himself in mystery, insisting on absolute privacy. Even his publisher, River Roads, has no idea who he really is.
Allison Henley works for River Roads as Dowd’s editor, and she has orders to find out just who L. Wood Dowd is – or else. She feels bad about destroying the author’s privacy, but she can’t afford to lose her job because she’s a single mother, a single mother of a child with special needs. Her daughter Maggie has Down’s Syndrome, and it comes with some major health issues. So she goes looking for a man she imagines to be a jolly Santa type. Instead she finds sexy Joe Burgett, and they share an instant attraction. Because of this attraction, Joe can’t bring himself to send her packing, and now Allison is conflicted in multiple ways. First, she more than half wants to protect Joe from River Roads, and second, she wants Joe to like her but is afraid to get involved with him because of Maggie.
Korbel deals with Down’s Syndrome issue and all of its related problems in a thorough and yet completely sympathetic way. Both Allison and Joe need to confront it honestly before they can decide anything about the future. And it’s certainly a big problem. But how they confront it reveals the depth of all their characters. They act in real and yet mature ways. Joe is kind and funny and empathetic, Allison should win the Mother of the Year award for her loving care of Maggie, and even six-month old Maggie herself has her own quirky personality. They are all wonderfully drawn.
Grade: B+Check Review