Title: Love, Suburban Style by Wendy Markham
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Imprint: Grand Central Publishing/Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Paranormal/Ghosts
Length: 385 pages
Book Rating: B+
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley
Fed up with her moody teenage daughter, Meg Addams decides what they both need is a good dose of suburban wholesomeness. But when they leave Manhattan behind for Meg’s humble blue-collar hometown, they find it crowded with wealthy strangers and upscale boutiques. Settling into a creaky fixer-upper, Meg finally spots a familiar face right next door–and it belongs to none other than Sam Rooney. The would-be love of Meg’s high school life is now a single dad, her daughter’s new soccer coach–and a neighborly ghost-buster whenever things go bump in the night. With three kids and an undeniable attraction between them, Meg and Sam are in for some heart-racing, wee-hour encounters that have nothing to do with spirits…but everything to do with hearts.
Wendy Markham’s Love, Suburban Style is a fun, light-hearted romance with just a little bit of a paranormal element. On the downside of her Broadway career and with her daughter expelled from school, Meg Addams decides to move back to Glenhaven, the town where she grew up. Her new next door neighbor? Sexy single dad Sam Rooney who just happens to be the object of Meg’s unrequited high school crush. Meg soon discovers that while much of Glenhaven has changed, her feelings for Sam have remained the same.
Meg Addams is a down to earth level headed single mom. When roles begin going to younger actresses, she realizes it is time to leave her once successful career behind and forge a new path. With her unenthusiastic daughter, Cosette, by her side, she relocates to Glenhaven, where she quickly discovers that the small town she left behind has changed dramatically. Meg’s self-esteem falters occasionally as she adjusts to the wealthier, upscale town, but with her terrific sense of humor and pragmatic attitude, she soon carves out a niche for herself.
Sam Rooney is widower who is a wonderful, but somewhat overprotective father of two teenagers, Ben and Katie. Devastated by his late wife’s death four years prior, he is devoted to his kids and has yet to begin dating again. Although instantly attracted to Meg, he is reluctant to risk getting hurt again.
Meg and Sam’s kids are realistic and delightfully developed. Cosette’s adjustment to small town living does not happen overnight nor does she lose her distinctive individuality. Ben is smart and athletic with perhaps a little more sensitivity than teenage boys usually exhibit. But it is Katie who completely stole my heart. Feeling the lack of a mother, Katie eagerly forms an attachment to Meg. Katie’s devotion to Meg soon becomes a source of conflict between Meg and Sam.
The romance between Sam and Meg is slow growing and quite entertaining. Since the story is told from both Meg and Sam’s perspectives, the reader always knows what each of the characters is thinking and what motivates them. I enjoyed the push/pull between them and I like how they each gave careful consideration to the possible ramifications that a failed romance could have on their lives and their children.
The paranormal aspect of the storyline is absolutely fabulous. The ghostly apparitions, things going bump in the night and otherworldly occurrences kept me guessing exactly what this part of the plot was going to eventually lead to. And boy was I surprised when everything, including the ghost’s identity, was finally revealed!
Love, Suburban Style is a marvelous novel with a unique plot. Wendy Markham has an engaging writing style but it is her extraordinary character development and witty dialogue that keeps the story moving at a brisk pace. An easy, enjoyable read that I highly recommend.