The series revolves around Sylvia and Shawn, their families, and the trials and joys of merging two very different families together. Sylvia is an African American woman in her late 30's with two young adult children. She has moved to Wisconsin from Chicago to start over after her husband died and left her an insurance policy that allows her the financial freedom to become the writer she wants to be. Shawn is a white man in his 40's, recently divorced with a young daughter who has moved home from California and just happens to own the house across the road from Sylvia. Shawn is a photographer and artist with an interesting and convoluted past and just wants a chance to reconnect with a slower and less false life than what he was involved in back in California. All of the characters in this series are complex and worthwhile. There are no wasted story lines here.
Each book gets better and better with more information about the families, the pasts of Sylvia and Shawn, and plot twists that will leave you wishing that people in your real world would just stop talking to you so that you can keep reading in peace. (Okay I admit that may just be me, but my kids and husband kept wanting to talk to me at the good parts-dang!) Shawn's family is very different and his mother Gert is a hoot. There are times in this series where you really wish that you can smack one of them in the back of the head-that's right I'm thinking of you Sylvia! But if a book brings you that kind of emotion you know you have a winner. If you can get over the price and make it through the poor editing in book 1 you will so be glad that you did. There are still issues in later books as well but they get less and less and the dialogue flows much better. I am so glad that I took that risk and am now really looking forward to plunking down my tightly squeezed scrilla (that's money for all of you non hip mom's out there) for volume 13 when it comes out.