Author Jayne Ann Krentz
Narrated by Amy McFadden
Published by: Tantor Media
Publication date May 8, 2018
Running time 11 hrs 29 min
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
A decade of working for the high-powered Gilchrist family empire has made sassy Katy Wade determined to open her own business. But there’s one last problem she must solve before she can leave. The Gilchrists need an heir apparent to save their mysteriously floundering fortunes, and there’s only one man for the job: Luke Gilchrist. All his life the Gilchrists have made Luke pay for his father’s scandal, and now he’s a renegade who’s sworn he’ll never go home—except to get even. Katy must persuade Luke to use his business expertise to rescue his family, but one look in his sexy green eyes, and she knows why they affectionately call him “the Bastard.”
Meanwhile, Luke’s decided he wants her even more than he wants revenge. He agrees to play savior, but only with Katy at his side. It’s a strategy sure to make this red-haired angel madder than hell, but she’s the only one who can turn this devilish rogue into a family man. Now he must trust Katy with his secrets—and she must believe in his love. https://tantor.com/family-man-jayne-ann-krentz.html
This felt like an historical romance novel pulled into the twentieth-first century because of its manipulative and powerful man forcing a woman into his life. The Gilchrists are a family with restaurant businesses but only the matriarch, Justine Gilchrist, is an effective business person. The rest of the family includes a bunch of dissipated heirs and one, Luke, whose family was in exile and which built their own restaurant business. With little effort this could have been turned into an historical romance. It could also have been one of the old-style Harlequin Romances.
The setting with an aging Justine “managing” her business from home felt like a castle on the hill, or maybe a creepy mansion on an hill or seaside cliff. Of course, in the 1990s, the best one could do working from home was a fax machine.
The business is effectively run by Justine’s personal secretary, Katy.
I did not enjoy the book: it felt out of time on two levels: the management behavior by the brilliant, reclusive, and often rude, Luke. I excused the complete lack of internet use and such because it was originally published in the early 1990s and the internet was not really available to the public. But even in the 1990s sexual harassment training regular and a management consultant would certainly have been aware. Of course, Luke’s behavior as a manager, or a consulting manager, is possible and abuse by management is legion. But, casting such a character as a positive, romantic lead is ridiculous. Also, his motivation for taking the job to save the Gilchrists and pursue Katy was inexplicable as it was a 180 degree turnaround from his behavior the day before.
Add to it the constant insistence by the lead female romantic character that all behavior by Gilchrists is explained and, excused by the nature of being “Gilchrists.” It felt medieval to me. She is also gullible as hell and her sense of owing so-o-o-o much to Justine is a point of honor, but repaid long ago.
And, another tragic coincidence: Justine was widowed young, one set of parents dies in a boat accident, and the other family dies in a plane crash. This trope is overused as it is, but having more than one tragic event is, well tragic.
Secondary characters, except for Katy’s brother and, perhaps, the matriarch, Juliette, are hardly developed. But I found the overbearing housekeeper comical. She was like a character in an old cartoon or sit-com.
Amy McFadden’s no nonsense but cheerful voice was probably the best part of this experience. However, I was so annoyed by the 1970s dimestore-novel-feeling the narration hardly mattered. And, in my opinion, that’s what your getting when you pick this one up.