Josie Brown's latest novel, The Baby Planner, is set in an idyllic San Fransisco. Katie Johnson is married to Alex, a money manager of a venture capital firm that specializes in tech start-ups. They're both successful in their own right, gorgeous, and passionate. There's only one thing Katie wants to change about her life - to have a child with Alex.
Alex has a son from his earlier marriage and was heartbroken after losing the custody battle. Alex doesn't want his son to feel abandoned and refuses to have any more children - at least for the moment. Katie figures that things will change when he gets promoted and hen things are more stable; she's willing to wait. In the meantime, she enjoys close friendships with her twin sisters and her many nieces and nephews. And she gets a particular charge from knowing that even her job helps her protect children: she works for SafeCalifornia, the state agency empowered to investigate consumer safety complaints and Katie focuses her investigations on child safety issues.
SafeCalifornia loses its funding and everyone loses their jobs. But Katie recovers quickly - she takes stock of her life and throws herself into her top priority: a child of her own. But this baby goal is a secret and in public, her energy is focused on her new business - as a baby planner.
While most people would avoid surrounding themselves with babies if they can't have one, Katie's much more of an optimist than the rest of us. She dives into the new role, moved by her love for kids and her natural desire to do things right. Confident that her husband will succumb and finally find himself ready to be a father. Her husband Alex is proud of her, supports her efforts, and her practice blossoms. As she comes across all types of moms-to-be, Katie draws them in.
In the tradition of the best women's fiction, Katie draws us in as well. Just as she befriends the soon-to-be parents, she endears herself to us. She's the sort of person that we'd love to know and to welcome into our lives. Her optimism and energy make Katie Johnson such a compelling and sympathetic lead character - just the sort to propel the novel forward. When Katie faces the worst possible day of her life -- her worst nightmares all come true -- she still doesn't sink into an annoying caricature of herself. Instead, she behaves with integrity and humor.
The Baby Planner is a fun, engaging read - and a book to share with friends.
ISBN-10: 9781439197127 - Paperback $15
Publisher: Gallery; Original edition (April 5, 2011), 352 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.