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Out of Control    by Janice MacDonald order for
Out of Control
by Janice MacDonald
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton

Janice MacDonald is one of my favorite Harlequin superromance authors. Her tales tend to go one step beyond the traditional for the genre, packing a detailed story into less than three hundred pages, while her characters feel especially real, with natural dialog and settings easily pictured in one's mind.

In Out of Control, Daisy's father was a famous artist who had a tumultuous relationship with his daughter. Though he died tragically in a fire more than ten years before, Daisy and her stepmother are still feeling the weight of the tragedy. In comes Nicholas Wynne, a writer determined to complete a definitive biography on the famous artist Frank Truman. His inspiration is a painting that Frank did of his beloved daughter Daisy many years ago. Nick wants to get to the story behind this painting, imagining a loving father and a very special relationship with his daughter. What Nick doesn't realize is how far he is from the truth.

Daisy doesn't want to cooperate with Nick for various reasons, but finds herself getting closer to him against her best instincts. Nick tiptoes around her as he slowly gets acquainted with the real Daisy and her intricate relationship with her father, but she is set against anyone knowing the truth. In the meantime, Daisy's ex-husband Toby - who is also her business partner in a Laguna Beach restaurant - is still very much a part of her life. Toby begins to show jealousy towards Nick, something that Daisy cannot understand. Their daughter Emmy is often angry with Daisy, not uncommon with teenagers. But Daisy has a hard time when Toby pits Emmy against her. Toby plants ideas in Daisy's head, making her suspicious about Nick's motives, when she should really be worried about Toby's.

I found Out of Control a great story with interesting, life-like characters. The author did a fine job of describing Laguna Beach (a favorite town of mine) and the art community there. I was easily able to imagine the actions of her characters in this quaint seaside town in Orange County, California. The setting combined with the mix of interesting characters into an engaging story that kept my attention from beginning to end.

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