For the Love of Matty
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Pages: 64
Goes Well With: Fast food and an extra shot of espresso

Families come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and varieties—whether they’re big or small, natural or adopted, divided or blended. And in author Johanna Riley’s short novel For the Love of Matty, a couple of characters find their idea of family challenged when a baby boy comes into their lives.

Following the unexpected death of her troubled cousin, Ailee, Kristen Delmont is shocked to discover that she’s been named the guardian of her cousin’s infant son, Matthew—a baby that she didn’t know existed. Since Kristen and her ex-husband weren’t able to have children of her own, she’s thrilled to welcome this beautiful new baby into her home and her heart. She’s also happy to get some much-needed help—and attention—from her handsome new neighbor, pediatrician Kevin Grady. But when she finds Matty’s birth certificate and discovers that Kevin is his father, her fear of losing her new son keeps her from telling the truth.

For the Love of Matty tells a sweet story about romance and family. Both of the main characters are likable yet lonely, searching for someone to share their lives. And while the new neighbors are strong, capable, and independent adults who have built an easy-going friendship, enjoying time together over their morning coffee, both need something more.

What happens next, however, requires some serious suspension of disbelief—so much, in fact, that many readers will find the obstacles impossible to overcome. Matty’s arrival and adoption feel a bit too sudden—and the fact that his unknowing father just happens to have moved from his home in Los Angeles and ended up living next door to Matty’s new legal guardian seems much too coincidental.

To make matters worse, as soon as Kristen discovers Matty’s birth certificate among her late cousin’s belongings and sees the father’s name, it’s simply accepted as fact that the Kevin Grady living next door to her is the same one who fathered her cousin’s child. Not only does it seem unlikely that there’s just one Kevin Grady in the entire city of Los Angeles, but unknowingly fathering a child with a drug addict seems completely out of character for the respectable pediatrician. Yet, here, it’s an important part of the story—one that’s never questioned.

So, in the end, while For the Love of Matty is based on an interesting idea, it’s loaded with so many deceptions, coincidences, and implausibilities that it makes for a frustrating read.

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