This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on August 39, 2018
DNF’d at 25%
Ah yes, I do love this writer’s style, the world of small town Blessings, Georgia she created, the heartwarming romances and friendships, and the engaging people. I’ve laughed and cried and sighed with happiness over nearly every book I’ve picked up.
So, why the sudden need to DNF (do not finish) a book in the series?
Well, this is on me. The whole trouble I’m going to relate is personal preference- at least, I’m pretty sure it is. I apologize to author and others for not just skipping this one knowing my preferences. The blurb does a good job of telling the reader what they can expect. I pressed forward because of all the things I mentioned in the first paragraph, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a hot button issue that is my own taste.
One of my big nope to the tropes is secret baby. Unless that guy is an ax murderer or has left no way of finding him, I will never be okay with a mother hiding the fact that a guy has a kid. It’s not fair to the kid and not fair to the guy.
At first, I thought this one was going to be okay. The guy’s family sold up and left town so I figured it would be one of those where she couldn’t find him, but it wasn’t like that. I let myself get really steamed before I closed the book and knew that, no, I wasn’t going to be good with her reasoning.
Instead of telling you to stay away or that I can’t recommend the book. I’ll just share my synopsis on what I read and let you decide since I know this trope doesn’t bug some people or doesn’t bug them to the same extent. No worries if you love it and this makes you want to dash out and grab it as soon as it hits the stands.
There was an arson fire in the town and the hero, Aiden’s dad gets blamed for setting it for the insurance money and at the same time, accidentally killing the heroine, Phoebe’s dad who was next door at his own business. There’s no evidence, but the town and Phoebe do a judge, jury, execution and make it pretty rough on Aiden’s dad and Aiden.
Meanwhile, the Aiden’s mom dies of cancer and evidence comes in that his dad was innocent. The Aiden begs Phoebe to let him comfort her and help, but she tells him to never speak to her again and leave her alone. She keeps it up for weeks when he tries a few more times even through his own grief for her dad, her family, his own mom is dying and the stress on his own family. People (Phoebe) know they were wrong, but its gone on too long and they won’t apologize and ask forgiveness.
Just as Aiden and his dad, grieving and hurt, are leaving, Phoebe gets her head on straight enough from her own grief to realize that he’s really leaving. Now, she tries to get him to stay or at least come back with teary-eyed ‘I’m sorries’. It’s too late and his dad needs him and he was still stinging from the betrayal of knowing that she’d known his family for years and claimed to love him, but never gave him the benefit of the doubt especially since there was no evidence. So, he leaves and moves on with his life with one glance back of regret.
Twenty years later, Aiden comes back to settle his granddad’s estate and discovers he has a son that Phoebe kept quiet about and the granddad agreed to keep quiet about too. They had decided between them that Aiden would only get to know about his son if he tried to check on her- come back for her like she begged, in other words. Phoebe raised the boy to believe his dad was a great guy and the son accepts this arrangement because he loves his mom and hopes for the best with his dad. She’s never going to love anyone else and he’s never found anyone else. Ahhhh… but no.
Phoebe’s a cutie and a hard worker and a great single mom, as described. She’s sacrificed and endured to raise a good kid. Bless her heart. Yes, I’m being a little facetious because it didn’t have to be like this. There are tons of single moms who would boot her in the butt for living on little because of that sort of unwarranted hurt pride that wore well on a teen girl, but not a thirty-something. She chose it because she makes this rule that he has to come back for her before he gets to know that he has a son. She took 20 years from them because of her stubborn insistence that he had to come back to her or at least ask about her. And the grandfather went along with this even while coming out to visit him and not allowing him to know about his own dying or funeral until afterward to keep him from spending his granddad’s last days with his grandson because the secret. Sorry, I couldn’t get on board with her reasoning and it didn’t strike me as romantic at all. She claims all along that she loved him. That behavior is not love for Aiden or their son. It was selfish and all about her even if she didn’t badmouth him and turn his son against him. Then I have to deal with her acting all mad and self-righteous when she springs Lee on him, conveniently forgets about all those weeks twenty years back of denying the guy until he’s pulling out of the driveway, and still spouting her ‘you never came back for me’ one-trick pony act.
Lee is well adjusted and Aiden is thrilled. Shocked, hurt that she did this, but he doesn’t lose it on her or toward the boy when she just shows up spitting nails at him ‘you have a son and he wanted to meet you, but I don’t ever want to see you’. He’s generous and kind and wants to be around them both. He regrets and tells her so, but she’s not having it and stays angry. Why is he the one doing all the bending and apologizing here????
And, then yeah, her dander’s up so when some jerk lips off to her, she punches him and breaks his nose. Now, I got no issues with a jerk getting a comeuppance, but she’d already poured beer on the guy and told him off. The hitting was just one more thing.
So, that’s about it. I stopped at that point. A couple of teens have tragedy enter their lives and they are too young to weather it as a couple, but now they get a second chance as adults. Go for it or don’t. No worries.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.