Story Score: 6
Presentation Score: 8
Blurb: When Kate’s husband, Ward, locates the son she put up for adoption as an unwed
teen, she’s understandably wary. What if he looks like his father instead of
The boy, now a man, is also wary. Who are these people who suddenly
want him to be a part of their lives? Where were they when he was growing up,
when he needed to feel a part of something bigger? After meeting each other,
everyone’s fears dissipate.
When Ward passes away unexpectedly, Kate is
devastated but thankful he never knew the truth. Facing the rest of her life
alone, she returns to work in the company he founded. She’s still coming to
grips with life as a single when she learns her son was adopted into the family
of Jesse, the boy who turned her away as a pregnant teen.
Review: The story is set in the present, where we immediately meet the two main characters Kate and Ward. DeBacco builds intrigue into the setting, whilst also giving us a glimpse into what appears to be a strong, mature relationship.
We then get thrown back into Kate’s memory of her teenage years, following an argument with her boyfriend (Ward), she gets into a passionate encounter with Jesse, which leaves her ashamed and unfulfilled.
Returning to the present, we see a different side to the couple. Kate is frustrated by Ward’s constant preoccupation with work, but we learn that Ward is also remembering their first child, the boy that was given up for adoption. The author works hard, and succeeds in helping us understand the feelings that both Kate and Ward have about that time. She also manages to give us a rounded view of their marriage, the intervening years, and the deceptions that they both weave through their lives.
The story takes an interesting turn as it moves to focus on the children – both the child given up for adoption, and the daughters of their marriage. At times it is a little jarring to jump between characters, as scenes feel shoe-horned into the story in order to meet plot needs, but DeBacco does a decent job in making the characters real, and making the reader feel empathy.
It develops into an unusual love triangle, peppered with two separate love stories involving the next generation. At times the stories grip you with the emotion contained within, but at others you are left wanting to know more about the situation that has developed, as it feels as if several separate stories have been welded together to make one novel. While each is interesting to read in its own right the cracks between them often jar. Parts of the story that need more detail are skimmed over in an attempt either to deliver the whole more quickly, or because the research required to deliver the detail was missing.
This is a really warm, sweet story, crossing over between contemporary fiction and romance. Other than the points mentioned, it is an enjoyable read, with a satisfying, if a little obvious, ending. I’d recommend it to someone wanting to read an inspirational romance, but would give the caveat that, in places, it feels as though you are reading several different books at the same time.