Novella Review: Driving Mr Wrong Home by Shirley Jump

Driving Mr Wrong Home was not my favorite novella in the Billionaire Matchmaker series, and I’m not sure why.  It has all of the elements I usually find engaging; a second chance at love trope, a road trip across the country, and a feisty little dog that demands pets and attention.  I think the problem I had is with the heroine’s personality, and I didn’t feel that she really changed much during the story.

Gabby is a struggling artist and a reformed bad girl.  She’s had a couple benign brushes with the law, flaunted her opinions in a too public arena, and as a result, she derailed her career and put her livelihood as an artist in jeopardy.  In a misguided fit of frustration, she used a commission opportunity to vent her temper, and the ensuing fallout destroyed her self-esteem.  Reinventing herself into a more cautious – and career-minded – adult, Gabby is focused on her career and getting back in the good graces of the art world.

She’s excited to receive a message from Mr B – he wants to meet with her to discuss a business proposition.  While she’s hoping desperately that he wants to commission some artwork from her, she is deflated to discover, through his butler, that he would like to retain  her services to babysit his Jack Russell terrier, Charlie, while he travels out of the country.  While the offered paycheck is more than enough to ease her immediate monetary fears, it wasn’t quite the break she was hoping for.  That, coupled with a surprise reunion with her best friend from high school has her on edge.  She’s trying to put her rebellious past, and the regrets of her youth behind her, and seeing TJ again just brings everything crashing back.

TJ was a nerd in high school, but he’s remade himself, too.  Now hot and sexy, he’s also a self-made man.  Wealthy and successful, he has pined for the one thing he couldn’t have – Gabby.  Determined to make one last ditch effort to win her heart, he’ll do anything to spend time with her.  Even lie about being poor and needing a ride to California so he can ride shotgun with her.  And off Gabby, TJ, and Charlie set on their road trip across the country.

I was disappointed with Gabby’s character.  She was impulsive and fun-loving when she was younger, but now  she’s risk-averse and strictly business.  She’s tempted by her conflicted feelings for TJ, though.  After rejecting him at a school dance, she’s still smarting over his rejection of her after he went off to college.  I had a hard time with her definition of TJ; a nerd with the ability to make her eyes glaze over with boredom once he started talking about computers.  That just didn’t mix for me, and made her seem self-indulgent and even selfish that she found something that he was so passionate about to be so boring.  I am aware that I am taking a small piece of the story and giving it far more weight that it would otherwise deserve, but that passing thought of Gabby’s really bugged me.  (Probably because I was and still am a nerd and have been accused of the same thing!)

I liked TJ and his determination to win Gabby back.  He acknowledges that he was wrong to ignore her after he left Chandler’s Cove, but his reasons for avoiding all things having to do with home rang true.  And he was able to accept that they each matured during the intervening years, and he put their separation into perspective by recognizing that now they were ready to have their happily ever after.  And so while I have mixed feelings about Driving Mr Wrong Home, I can firmly say that TJ (and Charlie) made the story for me.  


Title: Driving Mr. Wrong Home
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Shirley Jump
Publisher: Entangled Indulgence
EBook: 59 pages
Release Date: March 7, 2014
ISBN: 978-1622665037
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Can a feisty four-legged matchmaker help four best friends find the romance of their dreams?

When a handsome man from Gabby’s past agrees to a cross-country road trip, her master plan to re-launch her art career quickly morphs into an unexpected, romantic reunion.