Kissing Games of the World
By Sandi Kahn Shelton
(Crown, Hardcover, 9780307393654, 400pp.)
Publication Date: November 4, 2008
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If there’s one point that Jamie McClintock and Nate Goddard can agree upon, it’s that love is overrated. Jamie doesn’t have time for it. Nate doesn’t need it. And they certainly don’t want it from each other.
Jamie, a struggling free-spirited artist, is a devoted single mother who hasn’t been in a serious relationship since her boyfriend abandoned her after their son was born. Nate, a charismatic jet-setting salesman, is widowed and estranged from his father and five-year-old son, Christopher. Jamie would rather glue glitter to pinecones than go out on a date. Nate spends most of his nights wooing his clients. Then one afternoon Nate’s father drops dead of a heart attack. In that moment, their highly guarded worlds collide.
When Nate shows up at his childhood home to settle the estate and reclaim his son, he discovers that Jamie has been living in the Connecticut farmhouse as his father’s roommate. Mistrustful of each other’s motives, Nate and Jamie bicker about everything from children’s nicknames to Jamie’s fashion choices to Nate’s home renovation methods. It doesn’t help that Christopher prefers Jamie to his absentee father.
But after the funeral, Nate and Jamie begin to see each other in a more forgiving light. Nate, traveling to sales conferences all over the country with a sullen Christopher in tow, learns he can’t breeze his way through single parenthood. Jamie, who has moved back in with her sister, wonders at the wisdom of her unconventional choices as a woman with a child to support. And both begin to realize they don’t know as much about love as they thought. Still wounded by past heartbreak and sorrow, can they learn to trust each other and open their hearts?
SANDI KAHN SHELTON is the author of the novels What Comes After Crazy and A Piece of Normal and three nonfiction books on parenting. A feature writer for the New Haven Register, she is also a frequent contributor to Working Mother, Family Circle, Woman’s Day, and Redbook.
“Kissing Games of the World has the shape of a classic romance, in which opposites at first repel, then attract, and after many ups and downs find love. It's been done countless times, but rarely as engagingly as Shelton does it in this novel.”
—The Boston Globe
“Quite wonderful. . . . Like Anne Tyler, Shelton seems to possess a nearly boundless capacity for empathy. She has the ability to make us love her characters for their faults, not in spite of them.”
“Shelton’s third novel is an engrossing, charming, and often funny exploration of love and relationships that result…the author [explores] love in its different incarnations.”
—Library Journal, starred review
“An absolute treat, Shelton’s work rarely falters and is filled with realistic twists, complex characters and a moving conclusion.”
“[A]s the seemingly star-crossed lovers navigate their rocky path, with children in tow, they eventually discover their true destination, their true home.”
"Shelton's warm, sentimental love story is told with a tenderness of heart and a nurturing eye guiding complexly drawn characters. She effortlessly melds love and loss with heartrending care, exposing the layers of a budding romance with a deft hand. It's full of humor, flaws, and a togetherness of spirit fit for any modern love story where family is what you make it."
“Sexy hero, lovable heroine, adorable kids–Kissing Games of the World has it all. A complete delight. Fall into this buoyant, funny, genuinely touching story of two incomplete people finding the rest of themselves in each other. I loved it.”
—Patricia Gaffney, New York Times bestselling author of Mad Dash
“Shelton’s greatest talent is a gift for juxtaposing comedy and tragedy to the pulsing beat of the modern-day mating dance.”