Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
There are some romantic tropes that act like candy; they sweeten our romantic soul. For me, sub-tropes such as rich billionaire and his nanny romance feed my “sweet tooth” for titillating stories. Usually, with this trope, the billionaire knocks up his nanny, and there’s an issue with propriety and ethics. Liv Morris’s Daddy Issues isn’t THAT type of billionaire/nanny story. Instead, this is a story about a broken man forgoing the richness of happiness in his world because he made a horrific mistake in his youth. A baby from an arranged, but temporary $exual relationship and a beautiful, strong nanny help save him from himself.
Lucas is a man with a controlled life. He controls his work, he controls his bedroom liaisons, and he controls his relationships with his family. He believes that this control protects him from the reward of happiness and love. In his youth, Lucas makes a huge mistake, and it costs him dearly. As such, he believes he is warranted little in terms of personal happiness.
Magnolia “Maggie” enters his life one day in a coffee shop. He saves her from falling, and they feel instant chemistry. However, given Lucas’s control, he lets her leave without the promise of any future connection. Two weeks later, he finds he is a father from one of his temporary, controlled connections. Adrift, his friend finds him a nanny, only to realize it’s Maggie. As Maggie infiltrates his controlled world, his interest in her grows, and it challenges his previous control. Will Maggie help him drop his entrenched walls of protection? Or is Lucas destined to live a lonely, unfulfilled life?
There is quite a bit that I enjoyed about this story. I am always a fan of a controlled, seemingly mean-spirited billionaire being brought to his knees by a strong, willful heroine who is emotionally more mature than him. And that’s the case here in Morris’s Daddy Issues. Of the two, Maggie is more insightful and self-reflective. When Lucas’s sister insinuates that he stopped growing emotionally after the incident that changed his family, she isn’t lying. This means that someone must aid Lucas on his journey of self-discovery. Morris has crafted Maggie is such a way that her influence on his life makes sense. I will say that her constant reminding of her bachelor’s in psychology was a bit too obvious for the storytelling; however, beyond that, Maggie is likable in a way that she endears herself to Morris’s audience, and her influence on Lucas feels believable.
Additionally, I appreciated that little Esme, Lucas’s daughter, is precious. Sometimes, authors love to create tyrant children who put the nanny through horrors. This isn’t the case with Morris’s story. Esme plays as big a part as Maggie in pushing Lucas through his emotional maturation. She’s sweet in a way that touches her father’s heart, allowing him to grow into happiness and love, both of which he had previously spurned.
What I tended to struggle with for this book is the “bipolar-esque” nature of Lucas. For most of the story, he fights his connection to Maggie, but it’s done in a way that feels inconsistent. I didn’t believe him. I also struggled with his interest in writing as a career because Morris didn’t show us, fully, his attachment to it. It’s mentioned twice, but it doesn’t seem organic to Lucas’s character. Since Lucas spends much of the story pushing Maggie away and then getting close to her, it confused me at times. When he finally makes his choice, I was still confused. They have a moment in a dance club in a private room where he lays out his decision, and I found myself re-reading the passage because their agreement bewildered me.
Even more, I wanted to feel a greater emotional attachment between Lucas and Maggie. Some times, it felt like there connection was purely physical, but then, Maggie would say she “loved” him. Their physical interest is clear, but the emotional and mental attachments seem invisible, at least until the end. In my opinion, the last quarter of the book is the most consistent, and it’s the best part. However, to realize that, you must read the first part to understand its strength.
I love a billionaire/nanny story. It’s enough to create my romantic diabetes. Liv Morris’s Daddy Issues has some of the qualities you love in that trope. More importantly, though, this story holds the message of loving yourself, even those parts of you that are broken. Lucas’s journey shows us the need to let go of mistakes and allow love to fill in all of your cracks.
In love and romance,