Thank You to Gallery Books for providing me with an advanced copy of Tracy McMillan's novel, Multiple Listings, in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT- With her father in prison and raised by a neglectful mother, Nicki Daniels grew-up fast. On her own since her late-teens, Nicki has managed to conquer adulthood on many levels. She has a stable career and owns a home. She's also a single-mother, with a good son who is nearly seventeen. Nicki hasn't been so lucky in the love department, often falling for the wrong men.
Nicki has met Jake, a younger man who has dreams of owning his own restaurant. He convinces Nicki to make two major financial investments; a restaurant and a new home. As soon as her money is committed, he freaks out and bails. Nicki is not just heartbroken, but left financially unstable.
When it rains it pours and to this end, as soon as Jake splits, Nicki has an unexpected houseguest appear on her doorstep. Ronnie is the father than she hasn't seen in seventeen years. He has been a constant source of disappointment and now, he is begging for a second chance and shelter. Should Nicki allow him back into her life?
LIKE- McMillan's story is filled with strong and memorable characters. The central story involves the tension between Nicki, Ronnie, and Cody, Nicki's son. Nicki has refused all of her father's communication from prison and has barred him from not only her, but her son's life. The compelling drama stems from the regret that both Nicki and Ronnie feel for the ways that they've hurt each other. It's heart breaking, because Ronnie's past behavior has shattered Nicki, and even though he has put his life back together, he still has to face the consequences of his past actions. He can clearly see how his absence has affected her view of men. It's not a pretty picture. Nicki is thrown into further turmoil, when she realizes that Cody wants a relationship with his grandfather and as he is nearly an adult, she can't stop it. This is a story of healing, patience, and learning to take baby-steps towards forgiveness.
There is plenty of humor in McMillan's writing to keep it light. I enjoyed the addition of Peaches, Nicki's high school friend. Peaches is the outlandish, crazy friend that every woman needs. She's a good contrast to serious Nicki. Although Peaches is a secondary character, she steals the show when she's on the page.
DISLIKE- I'm not sure if this is a true dislike or negative, but the story read a little like a Hallmark Hall of Fame or Lifetime movie. It's more sweet and predictable, than it is edgy, given the themes. The loose ends are neatly tied up with a ribbon. That said, sometimes I need these types of books in my reading rotation.
RECOMMEND- Maybe. If you enjoy family dramas with a chick-lit vibe, then Multiple Listings might be for you. I enjoyed McMillan's story, but when compared to other books that I've read recently, it's not memorable.