Warner, Aug 2003, 5.99, 407 pp.
In Queens, New York, Nina Chickalini is weary and wants to simply escape from her home and her borough to the French Riviera instead of the Rockaways or Jones Beach. She is tired having raised her younger siblings after their mother left for heaven and achy from filling in at the family pizzeria.
However, Nina suffers from a responsibility bone so when her pal Joey Materi asks a favor she knows she owes him. He wants a child of his own so Nina agrees to be the surrogate mother, but makes it clear she did her child raising already and will not help him as Europe beckons just after the nine months are over. During the pregnancy the neighborhood plays matchmakers. Meanwhile, Nina reassesses her dreams for she feels so right in the muscular arms of Joey, who wants her as his beloved wife forever.
New York neighborhood humor is what keeps this charming contemporary romance from becoming a farcical soap opera. The story line amuses the audience with the antics of those wanting Nina to marry Joey. Readers who had early responsibilities will commiserate with Nina and all fans will like Joey who is a huggable hunk. Still, paying her debt by achieving the goal of THE NINE MONTH PLAN seems a bit excessive, but then again Wendy Markham keeps it just light enough to also make it fun to follow the Chickalini clan.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner