From Publishers Weekly
The humor Criswell employed so skillfully in her previous offerings (The Trouble with Mary; What to Do About Annie?) strikes a discordant note in her latest book, the third in a series of contemporary romances chronicling the lives and loves of a close-knit community of Italian Americans in Maryland. This strident entry follows the romance between Angela DeNero and John Franco, two attorneys who are engaged in an ugly custody battle that has their relatives up in arms. Against his better judgement, John is representing a powerful and underhanded lawyer whose new trophy wife is seeking to regain custody of her son, whom she abandoned. Unfortunately, Dan, the boy's father and a relative of John's through marriage, has hired Angela, a prim and proper Harvard grad who captured John's heart in high school and is poised to do so again. Angela and John are both well-drawn, likable characters, but the "villains" in this story serve no purpose other than to stir up a little conflict and push the plot along. Although the lawyer jokes that preface each chapter are cute, characters like Angela's cross-dressing father, her underwear-deprived friend and John's kleptomaniac grandma are piled on, and the story about two scarred individuals finding love with one another is lost in the cacophony.
Angela DeNero, the lawyer from What to Do about Annie? [BKL Jl 01], has moved back to the old neighborhood, Baltimore's Little Italy, only to land right in the middle of a family feud. She's handling a custody case for her friend Mary, and the opposing attorney is Mary's cousin, John Franco. Angela harbored a secret crush on bad boy John during high school, and he's still devastatingly attractive, not to mention a tough opponent. Always the good girl, Angela fights her desire, believing that romance is unethical during a trial, but it's hard not to like the man that John has become. She finds herself defending him to his family and worrying about her own, a group that definitely puts the "fun" in "dysfunctional." Her father is a macho ex-cop cross-dresser, her mother believes the end of the world is imminent, and her sister is seeking a career in all the wrong places. A terrifically enjoyable performance spiked with great lawyer jokes, this tale will leave readers waiting eagerly for the next installment, which will not come soon enough for Criswell's steadily growing audience. Patty Engelmann
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