Reviewed by Donna
TITLE: The Teddy Bear Club
SERIES: Dreamspun Desires
AUTHOR: Sean Michael
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 208 Pages
RELEASE DATE: August 1, 2017
Two lonely men. One perfect family.
Aiden Lake adopted his institutionalized sister’s two daughters, and he’s a good dad. He works nights on websites and gets in his adult time twice a week at the Roasty Bean, where he meets with other single gay parents.
Devon Smithson wants to be a good dad now that his sixteen-year-old sister asked him to babysit her newborn… three months ago. But he’s overwhelmed with the colicky baby. An invitation to the daddy-and-kid gatherings at the café is a godsend. The pot is sweetened when his friendship with Aiden develops into more—maybe even something that can last.
But the mother who kicked Dev out for being gay wants to get her claws into the baby, and she doesn’t care if she tears Dev, Aiden, and everything they’re building apart in the process.
I’m such a sucker for really cutesy men-with-babies stories. And Sean Michael’s Mannies Inc. series are some of the cutesiest out there. But they started feeling a bit like the author was struggling to come up with anything even remotely fresh. A single dad and his kids’ manny falling in love – there’s only so many different ways to tell that same story. So when I saw this new series, similar yet different enough to spark my interest again, I was quick to claim a review copy.
The basis of this series is a group of single gay dads who meet twice a week at a local café, desperate for a bit of adult interaction, some shared advice, and a shoulder they can cry on when single parenthood becomes too much. Aiden has single parenting down to an art. He’s organized, scheduled and most importantly – he has children who actually sleep! Devon, on the other hand, is still struggling to deal with his nephew, who he was asked to babysit three months ago. By this point, he’s accepted that his sister isn’t going to come back, which means he is suddenly thrust into the role of father to a colicky four month old. Named Unicorn.
Oh my god. I absolutely laughed myself silly when he shared the baby’s name with the fathers group. I could totally imagine an immature sixteen-year-old girl calling her baby Unicorn! Never fear, Devon makes it his mission to rename the child!
This book has basically zero angst and an avalanche of sweetness. The two men don’t even get together until further through the book than I expected. But I didn’t mind that. I enjoyed reading about the two men getting to be friends and also dealing with raising their children. The blurb mentions the evil, homophobic mother who tries to cause trouble for Devon, but that was all rather anti climatic and didn’t really amount to any drama at all.
I would recommend this book to lovers of stories that focus heavily on the children. Because that really is all that this story is about. Even the romance felt kind of secondary. The two men fall in love, but it starts off more about convenience than passion. Which again, I didn’t mind because it suited the story. While I totally enjoyed this story, I don’t think it will appeal to the majority of readers. But if, like me, you devoured the Mannies, Inc. series, then this is likely exactly what you’re looking for.