Quinlan Gregory is about to become the manny for a family with six children. The oldest of these children, a 14-year-old boy with an attitude, doesn’t like him and obviously doesn’t want him around. Their relationship changes after an event at school, and suddenly, Quin and Dustin become close.
Fast forward seven years. Dustin is now 21 and working as a mechanic in his father’s garage. He’s also ready to begin courting Quin. First, he has to convince Quin he’s serious. Next, he has to convince him he’s worthy of being loved and having a family.
When Quin becomes ill, he returns home early from his summer orchestra tour and discovers just how serious Dustin is. Will Quin finally accept Dustin is the man for him? Will he realize he’s become a member of the Robbins-Grayson family and has been all along?
I don’t know what more I can say about A Fool and His Manny other than I loved it. I loved every sentence from beginning to end. I got sucked into the story right away, and it held my attention until it was over. In fact, I read it in one sitting, no breaks. I just didn’t want to put it down, and when I finished, I was a little sad because I wanted it to keep going forever.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you I fell in love with Quinlan and Dustin right away. In the beginning, Quin wasn’t sure he was up to the task of taking care of six children and Dustin was upset to be losing time with the previous manny. The official blurb calls him “surly”and that suits him. Then there is an event at school that cements their relationship and I thought it was the perfect way to bring them into the same orbit. Quin realizes he’s pretty good at the manny thing and Dustin realizes Quin can be the confidante he needs. Don’t ask me what the event was. I’d rather you read the book and find out for yourself. It’s excellent.
Another thing I liked about A Fool and His Manny was the seamless passing of time. The story begins seven years ago. Then it turns into four years ago, two years ago, and lastly, present day. At first, I was unsure how the author could convince me Quin and Dustin should be a couple when the book started out with a 14-year-old Dustin. I was concerned I’d find it a little…creepy. I didn’t need to worry. As I said, the passage of time is seamless with enough time spent during each period that I was able to see the growth of both characters and get a real feel for them. It became a natural process and I was never uncomfortable.
Quin and Dustin had a lot of great chemistry, even from the beginning when Dustin was one of Quin’s charges. There was a nice give and take between them. They talked a lot. In fact, the actual sexiness of their relationship didn’t begin until later in the book. That was fine, though. I enjoyed the build up: the conversations, the emails, the selfies. There was a warmth and closeness there that I don’t think would have come through if they dove straight into sex.
As with the three previous books in the Mannies series, family is important and I love this. All of the characters are there for each other no matter what. Quin comes home from his summer orchestra tour very ill. The Robbins-Grayson family surround him with love and care, making it clear he’s one of their own, and they’d do anything for him. Also, there’s another event where not only does the Robbins-Grayson clan stands by Quin, but Channing and Tino, Brandon and Taylor, and Sammy and Cooper from the three prior books are there to support him as well. It was nice to visit with them…like a family reunion.
In the end, that’s what it all comes down to…family. Of course, this is a love story, but it’s so much MORE. The characters are all down to earth, caring, and loving people. They’re real. They’re the kind of people you wish you knew in real life. I wanted to go to the birthday parties, the graduation parties, the weddings because they’d be full of fun and love. There are too many of them to name them individually, but I will give special mention to Nica. She’s the matriarch of the Robbins-Grayson clan. She bore six children, but has so much more room in her heart and will take in anyone who needs her. She begins to refer to herself as Quin’s mom because his own mother was awful. Nica’s the woman you’d want by your side in a fight, but she’s also the woman you want to spend an afternoon watching movies with.
All in all, I highly recommend A Fool and His Manny. It is a wonderful read, and it will thoroughly charm you. As mentioned, it is the fourth in Amy Lane’s Mannies series. While I suppose it could be read as a stand alone, I don’t think you should do that. You should start at the beginning with The Virgin Manny, then Manny Get Your Guy, and Stand By Your Manny. Doing this will give you all of the characters from the very beginning. I guarantee you won’t be sorry. All of the stories are a delight. Do yourself a favor and pick them up.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.