Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86388-4
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Garland Warner had a thing for Ryker Dugrandpre when she was in college, but ah, he went ahead and wed another woman, and they had a daughter. As for Garland, she moved on and eventually became a single mother. They meet again when they are both available – his wife died giving birth to their daughter – but it is over less pleasant circumstance: they learn that their daughters were switched at birth.
Now, this is where Forever My Baby first has me scratching my head. They have each raised their daughter for two years, and judging from the nauseating frequency they each tell those brats how much they love those things, they are not going to be abandoning their babies in a basket at the local SPCA anytime soon. So, does it honestly matter whose daughter they are raising? Worse, Ryker is worried about what other people will say. Look, why does he even need to announce the news to other people? The only way this whole thing is an issue is if I’m suppose to accept that the only acceptable course of action here is to get back the baby who is really carrying half your genes, because biology trumps everything at the end of the day.
Eventually, these two decide to move in together so that they can raise all their kids together. He’s loaded, he can certainly afford to hire two nannies for each brat plus a passel of maids to clean up the house, so what’s the problem? Oh no, they are falling in love, but he can’t be doing that, because of his dead wife! Oh god, first world problems. How riveting.
And, of course, what’s a Kimani romance without some evil women screeching and screaming like a complete lunatic, right? Here, we have Ryker’s mother, who is so demented that she even takes the sign of Garland dumping her son as evidence that Garland is a mercenary whore after her family money – JUST LIKE SHE HAS ALWAYS KNOWN! I don’t know whether it is a compulsory requirement in books of this line to dump on women who aren’t the heroine, probably because the line is run by women who have unhappy social lives and blame their blues on other women, but the whole Evil Mother, Evil Other Women, Evil Everything Else with Ovaries thing is really getting old after the third year. And I started reading this line back when it was Arabesque and owned by Kensington back in 1999, so trust me when I say that this whole misogynistic taint is really, really old. Not all books, of course, but distressingly enough of them.
Oh, and because there really isn’t any good reason for this story to even take place, the author adds in a final conflict which has the heroine acting all dumb and refusing to communicate, dragging everyone else around her down with her even as the evil mother gloats about how every woman who makes a grab at her son’s penis is a whore. This woman is just one wig away from being Norman Bates’s mother, I tell you. Why haven’t anyone pushed her down the stairs yet, I simply can’t imagine.
Dumb premise, lack of any compelling conflict, and a reliance on cartoon evil mother antics to keep things all make Forever My Baby a pointless waste of time.