Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Danielle from Alpha Reader kindly suggested this book when I asked for Contemporary recommendations. I had mixed feelings about this book in the beginning -I didn't realize it would span so many years, but I liked it. Thanks Danielle!

I don't know how to review this book without spoilers, so let me just say: Spoilers Ahead! I'll try to only do a few small ones.

Sugar Daddy starts out with 14-year-old Liberty Jones and her mother moving into a trailer park in Welcome, Texas. (Her father died when Liberty was very young) There she meets Hardy Cates when she is almost attacked by pit bulls. He's an older boy but she is immediately attracted to him. Over the next few months, she doesn't see him much. She goes to school, hangs out with friends, and as she gets a bit older she gets contacts, plucks her eyebrows, and cuts her hair. The boys start to notice her, but she only wants Hardy to notice her. He tells her he's too bad for her.

While this is going on, her mother is working to support them and ends up pregnant. Baby Carrington becomes the center of Liberty's life. Judging from the events in the book, it sounds like her mom might have had post-partum depression, and Liberty took over. Her grades were falling and she was exhausted from getting up at night to care for the baby. On one particularly bad night, Hardy comes to help. That night, her mother tells her she doesn't want her seeing Hardy anymore and Hardy agrees.

Soon after that her mother dies in a car crash and Liberty is left alone to care for Carrington. She's never had a job and only has a high school diploma. She gets custody of her sister, and enrolls in beauty school. There she lands a job in a fancy Houston salon. She moves to Houston to be closer to work and so Carrington can go to a good school. At the salon, an exceedingly rich client, Churchill Travis, comes in for a haircut and they end up talking. He starts to ask for her whenever he comes in, and they begin to meet away from work. It's a totally platonic relationship, although other people think they're sleeping together. Her relationship with Churchill becomes a father/daughter type of relationship and they talk about everything. He ends up asking her to be his personal assistant, and Liberty and Carrington move into his mansion.

During this time, Liberty has done a bit of dating but no one can make her feel like she did when Hardy was around. She figures she's doomed be miserble and alone.

Churchill has three sons and a daughter. The oldest son, Gage, went into the family business and is in the mansion a lot. He thinks Liberty is sleeping with his father and resents her for it. He's rude and Liberty doesn't like him. Gradually their relationship takes a turn and they start dating. Then she runs into Hardy, who is now rich and successful. Liberty is conflicted because she has feelings for Gage and their romance is new, but can't forget how she felt about Hardy. While she's sorting out her feelings, she also learns some disturbing news about Carrington's father.

I enjoyed this story, but I was frustrated the build up to her adult life took so long. I will concede that it was important to the story and we needed it to understand Liberty's choices as an adult. I felt bad for Liberty - she had some tough breaks, and when her mother died I wanted to cry for her. I liked her secondary characters, especially Churchill, and Gage too, once she got to know him. I was mad at Hardy at the end of the book, and except for that I liked the ending.

All in all, it was a good read. I will definitely read the other books in this series. Thanks Danielle!


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