Five Kids, One Christmas, by Terese Ramin

>> Friday, October 17, 2003

I've just finished Five Kids, One Christmas, by Terese Ramin. It's not a book I'd nomally choose to read, but I asked a friend to lend me a book at random that wasn't bad and she brought me this one. She said it had problems, but also a lot of original elements I might enjoy.


Last she knew, widowed mom Helen Brannigan had one daughter and no man in her life. Now there were seven Christmas stockings to hang, five extra settings for the table--and one man-size dinner to make. Suddenly she was sharing her home--and joint custody of five kids--with a sexy widowed dad who was no more than a stranger ....


In a marriage of convenience, she'd said "I do" to that sexy stranger. Five happy little faces had held their breaths as she'd kissed the groom. And now Helen was holding her breath--for her brand-new husband to love her ....
My friend was right. I saw the exact problems she meant, but I did like reading some things about it. My grade: a C.

The main problem was that the book was much too crowded. It had too many issues to give each of them the space they deserved to be fully developed. Helen's military career, Nat's blindness, the custody battles, the kids themselves and their problems accepting all the changes in their lives AND the love story. All this in a 250-page book.

Ramin made a good effort, for the first 150 pages, more or less, but in the last 100 pages I thought she lost control of the plot threads by adding a kidnapping and the visit of a weird relative, too, which further crowded the book. I wouldn't have minded the crowd so much if the romance hadn't been shortchanged, but it all but disappeared in that last part, and the book became a chore to read. Until then, she'd succeeded in showing excellent chemistry between Nat and Helen, but she blew it.

It was an interesting book at times, yes, but ultimately not a success for me. Of course, I might have been influenced by the fact that being dropped into a ready-made family with 5 kids is my idea of hell ;-)

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