Lizzie Blake knows that she’s a lot. A lot of energy and enthusiasm. A lot of creativity and vibrant warmth. But also a lot of mess and chaos. Her attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder can make things difficult, given that she lives in a world built for people whose brains don’t function like hers. After a lifetime of being labeled a disappointment by her stuffy, judgmental parents, it’s clear to her that “a lot” translates to “too much” for most people, particularly when it comes to long-term romance. She sticks to one-night stands until a birth control screw-up during a fling with Rake, a gorgeous Australian on vacation, results in a very permanent relationship—with the baby she decides to carry to term. When Rake insists on moving stateside so they can coparent, Lizzie knows that the smart move would be to avoid getting attached to him. But that proves trickier and trickier when they start living together, then sleeping together and then falling in love in spite of themselves.
Mazey Eddings’ Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake doesn’t shy away from the very real problems that the titular character’s ADHD causes. You understand why Lizzie’s boss gets aggravated with her chronic lateness and her habit of losing track of important projects. You flinch a little on behalf of her roommate when Lizzie admits to losing yet another borrowed item. But Eddings also explores the depths of shame that Lizzie feels every time she’s made aware of another mistake. It’s easier for Lizzie to dwell on what she’s doing wrong instead of what she’s doing right, and it takes a lot of soul-searching—and a lot of encouragement from Rake—for her to realize that the ratio between her wrongs and rights isn’t what she thought.
Despite his own internal conflicts, including a commitment-phobic approach to romantic entanglements, Rake’s main role in the story is to open Lizzie’s eyes to all she has to offer. Even when she sees herself as a mess, he sees her as beautiful, charming, clever and endearing. Is he a little too perfect? Perhaps. But readers turn to romance novels because we want to believe that there are men like Rake out there: gorgeous, kind men who will come through even when things get messy; thoughtful and insightful men who will love their partners the way they deserve to be loved. Though the romance is a bit unbalanced—Lizzie doesn’t spend an equal amount of time showing Rake that he deserves to be loved as well—it’s hard to complain about seeing a woman who doubted her own value get showered with love, appreciation and respect.