A Christmas Celebration
Nancy Robards Thompson
Harlequin Special Edition, Oct 21 2014, $5.50
When his best friend Greg Thomas and his BFF’s wife Rosa died in a car crash, Celebration Memorial Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Cullen Dunlevy takes in their four young mourning children (ranging in age from five to ten). Rather than let the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services divide the quartet, Cullen plans to keep them with him until he finds a suitable family who will raise the fearsome foursome. However, he works sixteen hour days and his housekeeper quits as the growing blue foam was the last straw.
After explaining to Lily Palmer the kids act out of grief and she replies they seek attention; he hires the second grade schoolteacher as their nanny not just because he is desperate, which he is, but he sees how gently she reached out to the youngest Hannah through Franklin the dog. He also admires how well Lily deals with the oldest Megan, the only boy George and the second youngest Bridge. As the six bonds into a warm family, “Uncle” Cullen struggles with his desires to adopt the kids while falling in love with the nanny because he is married to his job.
The fourth Celebrations, Inc. Texas romance (see Celebration’s Bride, Celebration’s Family and Celebration’s Baby) is an uplifting Yuletide family drama. The lead couple is a nice pairing whose plans are nuked by the needy grieving youngsters. With a nod to Nanny McPhee (sans the magic except inside the hearts of all of them) and mindful of W.C. Fields’ admonition: "Never work with animals or children” the troubled kids steal the show from the adults.