- Published on Amazon.com
A lot of legal relationships drive this book. It's mentioned that Maya Finnegan, the heroine in this book, is a ward of the boyfriend's father, Robert Pendleton. There is a Foundation, called the Gerald Finnegan Foundation, which mission is to fund fulfillment of wishes of children dying from incurable diseases. There is some kind of firm, what it does is not mentioned, but it appears to be a trusteeship, called Pendleton and Associates.
A problem is that people's reactions to their legal relationships, as they understand them, will drive their human relationships, which in turn make up the conflict and character of the book. And I'm not sure what the roles are. What city and country is this book in? London, England?
How could Maya be a ward of Robert Pendleton, legally? She appears to be of sound mind, physically capable, and over eighteen years of age. She clearly has the competence to go to court to prove her ability to make decisions that affect her personally and financially, and in doing so, remove Robert Pendleton as guardian. I would understand it more if Robert Pendleton was named as guardian if Maya's father, Gerard Finnegan, died when Maya was much younger, like nine or ten, and then continued (and then resigned) until Maya came of age. The book didn't explain how Gerard Finnegan died at such a young age, and where was Maya and Moira's mother when Gerard died?
It's not explained in the book what kind of services Pendleton and Associates does. Is it a trusteeship? Is it a law firm? An accounting firm? The board of directors of a foundation make the decisions for the foundation. They can easily choose another accounting firm to audit its accounts, or if they do not have accounting staff, to prepare the accounts on a daily basis. Not sure why a foundation would ask a trustee to run affairs for them. Isn't a board of directors the only legal authority for a foundation? A trusteeship usually only runs companies that have been placed under receivership by a court, and then only temporarily until the company is wound down.
Therefore, with these legal relationships not clear, I was lost in why the characters were behaving the way they did, and why they intellectually felt that they had these legal constraints that forced them to maintain a relationship. It's not explained what Arthur's (the boyfriend) role is in Pendleton and Associates, and what office he holds, and if he serves as employee at the pleasure of his father, or is appointed by an independent authority like a board of directors. It's not clear what role Robert Pendleton has, although I can easily imagine he is the President and owner of Pendleton and Associates (is it a partnership?).
There is some potential in the plot. I liked the idea of a man and woman bonding together over an incurably sick boy. There were some tear-jerker moments near the end. Although it can be overdone in the romance market, a reluctant but-can't-help-it relationship "love/hate" is always something that hooks me.
I wasn't sure about making a sister a drug addict, it didn't add to the plot. Would have been better to have the sister perhaps steal money for other purposes. Also the relationship of this sister, Moira, to the other characters wasn't clear. There seemed to be practically no sisterly relationship between Maya and Moira (the names are very similar). Don't they have auditors to audit the books, and if these fraudulent accounts continued for a number of years, wouldn't the independent auditors have found out by now? There are a lot of strict laws for a charity to have its books audited by independent auditors annually and for the board to vote on the financial statements.
In short, this book has a lot of potential. I think more research is needed in charity law, trustee affairs, and legal matters in order to straighten out this book, including why there is a need to make Maya a ward of someone. As well, the writing could be more sharp and focused.