This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Montlake Romance
Released on November 12, 2019
Wow! One hundred books released and dare I hope for many more to come? Carolyn Brown’s The Family Journal was a fitting book for hitting her century mark with its unique look back at the distant past through the maternal family journal, to the present where things are at a low for the heroine before she takes her life by the horns, and into a future if she can trust that all men aren’t like her cheating, manipulative ex. Carolyn Brown’s country charming style full of family, friendship, wry humor and no-nonsense romance is a feel-good moment that I’m ever eager to experience.
The Family Journal starts with appalled and stressed out Lily Anderson getting a wake-up call. She caught her fourteen year old daughter smoking a joint in the library restroom and her twelve year old son has been sneaking off for beer and cigs with his friends. Time to get out of the city and head home to those simple country roots that she was so eager to escape when she finished high school. Back to the old stone family home with its shared bathroom and lack of wifi, her best buds, small town gossip, and a man who has the same loneliness and broken-hearted past in his eyes just like she.
I love this author’s books and this one was no exception even with the challenge of misbehaving teenagers included. It was an interesting story of family heritage when Lily found the journal that went back six generations of women to connect her to others who had to deal with hardships and came through them and also connected her with her daughter, Holly, who needed to get in touch with her family roots. Mac and Lily’s romance is one of friendship to love, building trust that this person won’t hurt them as they were hurt before. Lily’s domineering husband cheated and left her while Mack’s two ex fiancees left him for his handsome, suave twin brother because anything Mac has Adam tries to take.
Through a montage of daily life scenes and events, The Family Journal shows people healing and coming together. It was sweet and a little sassy with its gentle pacing. It was a crossover between women’s fiction and romance the way it focused on several feminine relationships in the story: Lily with her daughter, Lily coming to peace with her deceased mother, the connection to the women in the journal, Lily and her friends, Holly attempting to make friends, and Holly with Granny Hayes.
But, that romance was just the thing to weave through the women’s story. Mac is stalwart, quiet and very humble after growing up the twin of a flashy brother who dominated their high school scene and was the seeming golden boy so that not one, but two of Mac’s loves fell for his tinsel charm. He fears that Lily will do the same until she shows him that she knows the difference between the player and the real thing. He’s no fancy bank president wearing thousand dollar suits and driving a sports car. He’s an agricultural teacher and runs the 4-H club, he raises goats, wears beat up boots and drives an old truck. But, he is just the guy to fill in the wounds that Lily and her kids have after Wyatt does his number on them for years. I envy Lily her Mac.
All in all, it was another golden story for me and I can recommend it to those who enjoy contemporary western romance or small town women’s fiction.
I rec’d this book through Net Galley to be read in exchange for an honest review.
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