It is entirely a testament to Shelly Ellis’ ability to develop a compelling character and gave me the opportunity to overlook the actions and beliefs at the core of the main character’s personality: most of which are distasteful and dance on the edge of stereotypical.
Dawn is one of the four Gibbons sisters, raised by their mother to take a ‘what he can do FOR me” attitude toward the men in their life. Her mother has managed to amass considerable wealth, and always been able to provide the best for her girls, despite her utterly mercenary views on men and relationships. For Dawn, the whole process is tiring, and she is starting to see that the way she was raised, and the beliefs she holds about men and relationships just may not be right.
So, she has decided that focusing on her career is most important, and perhaps a relationship: a carefully contrived, constrained and constructive agreement, will come in time. All of that is thrown into the skip when her father reappears in her life: and she sees the destructive power of her mother’s greed and actions. While she spends time with the man she didn’t know, revelations about her childhood, the things she always believed and even her own thoughts about her family dynamic and behavior are all brought into question.
Nothing sends her into questioning mode more than Xavier, her father’s right hand man, who also happens to be engaged to her half-sister. Xavier is as intrigued by Dawn as she is by him: his fiancé is spoiled and very much a Daddy’s Girl, with little positive to redeem her. He’s not looking, not really: but there is Dawn, only interested in carefully contrived, highly regulated encounters that don’t involve her heart.
Ellis manages to give each character in this story an emotional honesty and ability to question what they know when they get new information. The whole gold-digger philosophy is so abhorrent and foreign to me that the matter-of-fact proclamations from Dawn’s mother is in such a direct contrast from the woman that Dawn is starting to become that it was difficult to not empathize with her struggle to incorporate the new information and adjust herself accordingly. Now, the whole ‘other woman’s man’ issue was a difficult one to swallow, and while Ellis did manage to provide both Xavier and Dawn with reasons that they used to justify their own growing relationship, both lost a few points in the ‘I can like this character’ department.
The story did wander a bit more than I would have hoped, and there were several threads that were quickly woven in to completion without really feeling as if they really had been dealt with, but for my first introduction to this author – this was an interesting concept and view into her deft handling of difficult philosophies and behaviors. The books in the collection each focus on a different sister, and this installment worked as a single read without issue. I was challenged to put aside my own personal prejudices about infidelity and mercenary mate hunting, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Title: Another Woman's Man
Author: Shelly Ellis
Series: A Gibbons Gold-Digger Novel
Published by: Kensington
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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The notorious gold digging Gibbons women of Chesterton, Virginia, are minding their own highly-paid business when second eldest sister, Dawn, is reunited with the one man she never dreamed she'd see again. . .
Dawn Gibbons is shocked when her long-lost father reappears in her life. Seriously ill, his dying wish is to reconnect with her. But for Dawn, it's complicated--her wealthy father comes complete with jealous relatives--and a handsome young lawyer Dawn finds dangerously sexy. Dangerous because he's engaged--to her newfound half-sister. One thing a Gibbons woman doesn't do is steal her sister's man. Yet for the first time, Dawn may care about love more than money. . .
Xavier Hughes isn't easily thrown, but the electricity between him and Dawn leaves him unsettled. And when his suspicious fiancée insists he investigate Dawn's background, it only pushes him closer to the one woman he should resist. Soon, holding back isn't an option, and both Xavier and Dawn will have to face the consequences of breaking the family rules. . .
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.