REVIEW: The Prodigal Son by Beth AndrewsSunday, July 31, 2011 1:00
Finally, I made it all the way to the end. I didn’t think I would be able to finish this book. The hero, Matt Sheppard, is not where he wants to be, the heroine is angry and resentful of her lot in life, the hero’s manipulative mother and two brothers are not happy about the whole mess. There is not a lot of love and harmony going on in this book, and waiting until the last chapter for any good vibes is just not my kind of story.
Matt has a fight with his father and is disinherited. He goes off to college on his own and makes his mark in the wine industry. Then he is summoned home to be in his brother’s wedding, and his mother manipulates him into staying and defaulting on his contract on a vineyard in Australia, thus ruining his reputation in the industry. If it wasn’t for his brothers losing the vineyard, he would walk away.
Connie Henkel would give anything to be a Sheppard. She looks up to Matt’s father and has learned from him. She’s earned the title vineyard manager, and now she’s being pushed out of her position by the very man who spurned her mentor and didn’t want to have anything to do with the Diamond Dust Winery. She has been saving for years to buy into the vineyard and Matt’s coming home has ruined it all.
On top of her work life falling apart, Connie has a mentally ill mother who demands her time, along with two lovely yet self-absorbed daughters to care for. She is stressed to the max and has to deal with her new co-manager occupying her thoughts, her work days and soon her nights.
As for the supporting characters, we have a wimpy brother who doesn’t get what he wants out of life. The middle brother is trying to find his way after being in the military. And last and certainly not least is a witch of a mother who doesn’t take the time to think that someone may have feelings and obligations beside herself. I don’t much care for “soap opera” mothers and this book has two of them. I find Matt’s mother a malicious, unpleasant, and a selfish person, and I might as well include arrogant. Connie’s mother is mentally ill and has a good excuse for being manipulative and time consuming. So in general we have a book full of nasty, angry people and very little love in the air, considering a wedding is supposed to be taking place.
I need a little more peace, love, and understanding between my characters to find love and romance enjoyable. Even when they were close years before, there were very few undercurrents and not a lot of sizzle between the characters. Life in general has enough ups and downs without having to spend your leisure time reading about someone else’s.
He always gets what he wants—and that’s made Matt Sheppard an international success as a vintner. So he never saw his mother’s blackmail coming. She says she’ll sell the family’s vineyard if he doesn’t stay put for exactly one year. But running the Diamond Dust with his brothers was his father’s dream, not his. Now he’s shackled to the place by familial ties as strong as vines and tight enough to strangle him.
Worse, he’s forced to work with a resentful manager, Connie Henkel. Her mile-long legs can’t distract him from his goal: to improve the business and get out as soon as he can. Because if the single mom entwines herself around Matt’s heart, he’ll never be able to leave.
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: