Toby Jacobson and his wife, Sydney, are expecting their fifth child. Everything is wonderful for about a month, but sadly, Sydney passes away. Toby is at a loss. His grief is nearly crippling and he’s also dealing with the childrens’ grief and confusion. He wants to hire a live in nanny to help, but the agency he’s going through doesn’t have any candidates who can be there 24 hours a day. Fortunately, Toby’s friend recommends someone who is more than qualified. The thing about that is, the person he’s recommending is a man.
Cliff Turnbull has two college degrees…one is in child psychology and the other is in child development. He also raised his younger brother and sister after their parents died. He’s registered with the nanny agency, but he can’t seem to get anything but temporary jobs. It seems not many families feel comfortable with a single man watching over their children. He’s got all the qualifications Toby’s looking for, and he’s glad to be given the chance to prove himself.
Things are rocky with the Jacobson family. The children miss their mommy and sometimes act out. Toby is nearly paralyzed with grief. Cliff is with them to help them get through. Soon, Toby and Cliff begin to develop a relationship that is far deeper than a father and a nanny, physically and emotionally. Is it possible for them to get past their individual issues and be able to become a loving family?
I love manny stories. It’s always wonderful to read about families, dads, and the men who take care of all of them. I try to read these as soon as I hear about them. I was excited for Love My Children First, but unfortunately, I didn’t really connect with this particular family.
The beginning had some promise. Watching Toby, Sydney, and their children being excited about the new baby was adorable. Then, I cried big, fat ugly tears as Sydney slipped away in the hospital. I was actually a mess. My sobs woke my husband and he had to comfort me before I would let him go back to sleep. Usually, books that make me feel so much, especially at the beginning, are bound to be great. However, things started to go downhill quickly.
Let me start with Toby and Cliff. Toby struggled with intense grief. I certainly could understand that. Cliff is like a rock for him as Toby has to go through some pretty heavy things. The children needed someone who can not only take care of them, but also to help them deal with losing their mommy. Also, Cliff’s got to care for Toby, who takes to his bed and become uncommunicative. Both men are relatively likable, but I just didn’t connect with them like I wanted to.
The relationship that developed between the two felt a little fast. It felt a lot fast. I know people grieve in their own way and in their own time, but Toby and Cliff are having sex and falling in love within about six weeks after Sydney died. I’m not judging them, it just felt it to be a bit rushed.
I’d like to talk a bit about the sex. I felt the scenes were a bit on the clinical side, but there seemed to be quite a bit of what I would consider purple prose.
As their prostates spasmed and their vas deferens contracted in unified bliss, their man-seed was driven from their cores. Together, they thrilled in the forbidden pleasure that only two men could create when they came together.
I’ve never read “vas deferens” in a sex scene before. Also words such as sphincter, anus, frenum [sic] (I googled this. The definition is “another term for frenulum”), and scrotum. It put me off a bit. I mean, I don’t always need dirty talk, but I don’t want it to seem like the characters are in the doctor’s office. This is merely a personal opinion of mine. Others may like it.
There were plenty of background characters. Toby’s Aunt Vera stayed with Toby and the children for a while to keep the household running. Jason and Aaron are Toby’s friends. Aaron was the one who recommended Cliff for the job. There were the children, August, July (those are the two boys), May, June, and finally, baby April. I felt they really fit their roles perfectly. August, as the oldest, was more able to express his grief and anger, but the littler ones could only describe missing their Mommy. There were other characters who played smaller roles, but they were all important parts of the story as a whole.
There is one more thing I want to tell you. Love My Children First is very dialogue heavy. There is more conversation than exposition…less show and more tell. Personally, I like a lot of dialogue because I really want to “hear” discussions. However, some people don’t like it as much as I do, so I wanted to include this so you’re aware.
All in all, Love My Children First was a great concept. I wish I could have connected more with Toby and Cliff. Sadly, I didn’t. All this being said, this is the first book of a future series, and I think I’d be interested to see the direction it goes.