Blended families. If ever there was a warning about looking before you leap, this is it.

Divorcée Su and widower Jeremy fall passionately in love, and, in only a matter of months, decide that they will pool their resources to build the house of their dreams, a home for themselves, Su’s teenage daughter and Jeremy’s two sons, a teenager and a young boy. They seem very level-headed, having no wish to railroad their children into liking the new partner. They take time to get to know the kids before acting. They run the idea past them. There are a few grumblings but nothing that can’t be surmounted. Forwards.

While the dream home is being built, they move into a larger rented accommodation. Su’s house has sold, Jay’s has not. Thanks to Jay’s inheritance, there’s enough flexibility in the budget to cope. But there are the inevitable snags, delays. Jay in his determination to make this house the best it can be, and to finally prove his worth to his bully of a father, makes some unilateral decisions, which turn out to be not only rash, but stupid. He hides them. And continues to do so until his inheritance is gone, and he can take on no further debt. He has to come clean.

That, however,is not the breaking point. While the stress has been building, Jeremy has been concocting a new plan to generate income. Despite his fecklessness, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he would ever have acted on it. But then who knows what a desperate man will do? When Su discovers it, she finds the very conceiving of the notion to be unforgivable. End of story, or is it?

Because it’s not just about him and her. There are the kids to think about. The teenage son will weather a split but the young boy and Su’s daughter have forged a bond. And that young lad now calls Su Mummy. Will he survive the loss of two mothers at the tender age of 7?

What a mess!

Su, despite her rushing headlong into this relationship, and coddling Jeremy’s ego too much, is the more emotionally intelligent of the two, and has throughout found pragmatic solutions for the dilemmas that arise when raising kids and teenagers in the 21st century. She is now the one who proposes a way to avoid further collateral damage. It is unfortunately the only detail in this otherwise truly realistic and emotionally engaging novel about modern relationships that I find fanciful. Perhaps a sequel will prove me wrong?