Baby, Drive South by Stephanie Bond
published by Mira (Harlequin) in May 2011
The hardheaded Armstrong brothers are determined to rebuild their tornado-ravaged hometown in the Georgia mountains. They've got the means, they've got the manpower... what they need are women! So they place an ad in a northern newspaper and wait for the ladies to answer their call...Genre: Contemporary romance
Porter, the youngest Armstrong, is all for importing women. Still, he's so blown away by the sheer numbers, he falls off the water tower. Luckily there's a doctor among the newcomers—sweet and sexy Dr. Nikki Salinger.
And Porter has every intention of checking out her bedside manner...
Series: Southern Roads, Book #1
The Story: The three Armstrong brothers: Marcus, Kendall and Porter, are retired from the military and their goal is to rebuild their tornado-ravaged hometown, Sweetness. They are on a tight schedule and must meet some requirements if they want to keep this project alive. Then, the men start to complain about the lack of female company... If it was Marcus, he'd keep it that way, but can't have disgruntled workers and so they come up with the idea of advertising Sweetness as a new beginning, a second chance place.
Dr. Nikki Salinger's engagement came to an end when she found out her fiancé cheated on her with a stripper. All she wants to do is forget all that happened and start fresh which is why she joined the "caravan" to Sweetness. However, the conditions in Sweetness are rougher and more rustic than she ever could have imagined. Added to it the men aren't thrilled to get a female doctor. Nikki can't help but reconsider her decision.
Porter is Nikki's first patient and let just say they started off on the wrong foot. Nikki might not be Porter's type; however, the community needs a doctor and if Nikki leaves, all the women will too. Thus, Nikki has to stay no matter what and it's all up to Porter.
My Opinion: I think I've read one book by Ms Bond in the past... and it didn't leave a deep impression. Still, I picked up Baby, Drive South because the premises sound interesting and original, it's contemporary romance and published by Mira.
What really worked for me in this book was the concept of the trilogy; I thought it was original and fun. Take something that really happened in the past and modernize it, give it a twist. So the premises definitively have potential. At the same time, I wonder why there wasn't more females involved in the project to begin with. I mean, in this day and age, there are women in the military, there are women involved in construction and engineering. As a result, I'm just surprised that there weren't more women to start with.
Frankly, the rest of the book was okay for me. The real big problem is that I wasn't engaged by the storyline or the characters. I found Porter to be quite immature. He did have his moments, but most of the time he was impulsive and didn't think stuff through. As for Nikki, it really took a long time for me to warm up to her. Actually, not even sure that by the end, I did ^_^; It's logical that once she arrives to Sweetness and sees the conditions and after few days there, she doesn't want to stay. To settle in Sweetness will definitively be hard work, but this is fiction. I didn't feel any real enthusiasm coming from Nikki for Sweetness, for trying, for really getting her new start. Almost immediately, she wanted to back and I thought that was unfortunate. Understandable, but then in that case, it's hard for me as a reader to feel good about Sweetness, no? I also didn't think that Porter and Nikki had any chemistry, sigh, and their romance felt flat for me.
In Baby, Drive South, readers are also introduced to some secondary characters. There are of course Porter's brothers, Kendall and Marcus, but also Rachel which seems to be the women's leader. My first impression of Rachel wasn't very good, but as the story progressed, she showed some maturity... so I don't know, she might turn out to be quite a complex and interesting character.
I think for me, everything in Baby, Drive South was a bit too forced and overall, this was just an okay book for me. Something to pass time, but not something that really reached me. Right now, as it is, I'm not really inclined to read the second book, Baby, Come Home.
My Grade: D+. I still think the book and trilogy have a lot of potential, unfortunately this book just didn't work for me ^_^;