Shocking fact: I don’t particularly like children, and I like them in romance novels even less. It’s therefore a testimony to the author’s writing skill that I liked this book a lot.
Reece, the nanny (or manny, if you will) is a delicious hero. A hot blend of expert nanny, former fighter and passionate lover—an ingenious, magical mix of alpha and beta.
And I felt for Audrey, still suffering emotional frostbite from her loveless family after so many years.
Once Audrey and Reece give in to their attraction despite their employer-employee relationship, the intensity of their relationship is breath-taking. Which then makes it all the more devastating when it seems things aren’t going to work out. Audrey’s lack of faith in herself and their relationship causes her to sabotage their happiness, and she reminded me of the creature in the Stephen Crane poem that gnaws upon its own heart and declares it enjoys the bitter taste.
Polly and Les serve as wonderful secondary characters, as do Reece’s sisters and Barrett the sperm-donor dad, offering comic relief during some of the more dark moments of the relationship.
Ainslie is another writer, like Charlotte Stein, who cares about words, and I found myself highlighting the more delicious metaphors in the same way an antique book collector runs their hands over limited edition tomes.
Here’s one of my favourite quotes: She chose him all the way from his boat size feet to his quiet domestic heroism. She made a cocoon of them, an alternate world for the two of them and Mia to exist in.
I also enjoyed the way the author played with conventions and stereotypes (e.g. how parents and carers should act, physically mis-matched couples) and explored deeper themes around workplace discrimination and sexual harassment.
Unsuitable definitely delivers the hyper-real romance that the author is known for. You won’t find any cardboard characters, over-the-top dialogue or improbable scenarios to choke on, just warmth, wit and an intelligent love story.