Today's Throwback Thursday feature is one of my favorite romance/family saga series. This series has a lot of things that would have normally kept me from enjoying the average book, but Mercedes Keyes sucked me in from book one and I just couldn't help but keep going! For me, this series is worth every penny and is one that I will most definitely visit again. This series is not finished, and I really look forward to the next book, whenever that may come! Keyes does not write and publish quickly, but the resulting story is always worth the wait for me.
I'm actually at a loss as to where to start with this review. To be totally honest I don't know what possessed me to even buy this book in the first place because it goes against so many of my usual "rules" that I follow when picking a book. First the cover didn't exactly grab me at first, I'm not use to seeing this kind of digital art I suppose, but I do appreciate the amount of talent and time it would take to produce these kinds of images so I got over that one by book 3. Secondly, and this is the big one for a big ole cheapskate like myself, each book is $7.95 and there are 12 books in this ongoing series.That's right $7.95 x 12, woo Lordy! However, I have to say that by book 5 I no longer needed to pop a Tums every time that I hit the buy button because this series is just that addictive and I read all 12 books in a week! The first book is a little rough, the editing in it isn't the best, the dialogue has a little too much slang for my taste, but the story!!! The story is so engaging that even I got over the flaws that usually make me very cranky.
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.