Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Book Review - Be My Baby by A. L. Michael

Amazon UK
Title: Be My Baby
Author: A. L. Michael
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ Digital 
Publication Date: 7th November 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

Two’s company…

If you asked Mollie whether she struggled as a single mum, she’d have to cover her daughter’s ears before answering. Surrounded by friends, watching Esme grow into the sassiest eleven-year-old in North London, and building her name as TV chef Mollie Makes, Mollie’s never been happier. Well, that’s what she’d tell you. But as her best friends pair off, and Esme starts getting into trouble at school, Mollie wonders whether life would be different – not better…but easier – with a team mate.

Three’s a crowd?

But Esme’s dad, Jamie, would be the last man Mollie would team up with. After all, he made it clear eleven years ago that he wasn’t interested in playing the family game. So when he suddenly reappears, Mollie can’t believe her eyes. And soon, she’s got to ask herself the hardest question yet: she knows she can succeed as a single mum. But what if her daughter doesn’t want her to?

Throughout the latter half of 2016, I have been enjoying my visits to The House on Camden Square, the setting of A.L. Michael's trilogy. Having just finished Be My Baby the final of these books, I am gutted that the series is finished, but at the same time incredibly impressed by this last installment, and the way it rounds up the stories. 

Be My Baby is definitely readable as a standalone story, however I know my pleasure came from my knowledge of all the characters, having already had the focus be on Evie and Chelsea, so have known Mollie previously as the third friend, with her wonderful daughter. Now we get to know Mollie and Esme a whole lot better, and my life is lot richer from that experience. 

Esme has been a star of the series, even before this book and I feel like there is a whole new dimension to her characters in Be My Baby, as issues surrounding her not knowing her father, are raised.  In fact central to the whole story is whether Mollie will ever love again, or trust anyone enough to share parenting of Esme. 

Mollie's confusion over what to do with Esme's misbehaviour at her new school, coupled with the return of the man to left her while she was pregnant, leads to some sleepless nights, and a lot of hard thinking for Mollie. 

Mollie is also starting up some new classes teaching parents and children how to cook healthier, and her Mollie Makes sessions attract a TV audience, and they start to get a segment. There are some delicious sounding recipes in this story, and a variety of healthier twists on popular snacks. 

Spotted throughout the book is Mollie remembering the past, of the time when she was pregnant and Esme's early years. It's with these memories that we see even more of the fourth of their friends, Ruby Tuesday, who is outrageous but clearly loves her friends, even if her actions are rather misguided. I enjoyed getting to see more of Ruby's personality, and from a different perspective again, than in the others of the series. 

I am a huge fan of Be My Baby and found it easy & quick to read, while also causing huge emotional lumps in my throat at a couple of plot points, and had me laughing in other places. Mollie and Esme make a fabulous duo, but with the introduction of Jamie, we see a whole new dynamic to their relationship, which is incredibly enjoyable to read about. 

Thank you to Netgalley and HQ Digital for this copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

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