Howard (Simon & Schister), Mar 2009, $13.99
On Thanksgiving Day, Kaye DeVore and her five years old daughter Rachel died from monoxide poisoning. The grieving widower Doug understands the irony of their deaths as an EMT he has warned about the hidden dangers of monoxide poisoning. However, he has no time to mourn as he must raise five children with the oldest Kayeleigh being only twelve.
Mickey Valdez knows the DeVore kids and their late mom as she runs a day care center that include the family’s youngest Harley. As Doug struggles to make enough money to support them, he relies heavily on Kayeleigh to take charge of her siblings while also is always late for picking up his kid from the daycare center. Mickey takes Harley home and Doug invites her to join his family with their take-out meal. Harley, Sarah, Sadie and Landon are thrilled to have Mickey eat with them, but Kayeleigh resents her. When the two adults meet at a wedding that Doug wanted to skip but Kayeleigh insisted on attending, the townsfolk sense a spark and begin matchmaking though Kaye is only gone less than three months and the tweener resents the intrusion.
This is an interesting family drama in which six people struggle with a sudden death of two loved ones when the patriarch begins courting another woman. The story line is character driven as the kids react differently to Mickey entering their lives and she and Doug have major doubts as each knows it is to soon for him and his children. Though somewhat similar in tone to REMEMBER TO FORGET, the poignant reactions of the children refresh this deep inspirational Clayburn, Kansas novel (see LEAVING NOVEMBER).