Authors: Tia Fielding & Lisa Henry
Publisher: JMS Books LLC
Publication Date: February 22, 2020
Length: 216 pages
Reviewed by Jenn
Justin O'Dwyer is 19. Four days ago, his mother died of a drug overdose, and now Justin is back in Enterprise, Oregon, trying to figure out how to raise the younger siblings he's afraid of losing to the foster system. Justin is completely out of his depth. Harper is six, and hates him. Wyatt is four and doesn't remember him. And baby Scarlett, at fourteen months, has never even met her big brother before. When Scarlett gets sick and won't stop screaming, and when Harper runs off in the middle of the night, Justin is at the end of his tether. In desperation, he knocks on a neighbor's door begging for help.
Del Abbot is 38, and living in his grandparents' old place in Enterprise after his marriage broke down and he lost his restaurant in the divorce. He's a chef, even had his own show on cable for a while, but now he's looking for a new start, if he could just figure out what exactly that entails. When the O'Dwyer family barrels into his life one night, Del can't refuse to help. What begins as a trip to the hospital becomes a regular child-minding gig while Justin struggles to find his feet. And the more time Del spends with Justin, the more they both want more than friendship. But small town life comes with its own bigotry, and, in Justin's case, that bigotry has always been close to home.
When an act of violence threatens to destroy the small family they've built, both Justin and Del need to put aside their pasts and reach for their future together.
Family Recipe by Tia Fielding and Lisa Henry was simply a joy to read. The O’Dwyer family burrowed into my heart immediately…I just wanted to swoop in and protect them. And Del Abbot? What a perfect fit he is for this family.
Justin O’Dwyer is an O’Dwyer in a small town where anyone with that last name is looked down upon. He thought he escaped the town, his name and his painful childhood at fifteen, but now he’s back. When Justin gets word that his mom has died of an overdose, he heads back to Enterprise, Oregon to raise his three younger siblings. At nineteen, he doesn’t feel in anyway prepared for this responsibility. Justin doubts himself and being one of “those O’Dwyers” doesn’t give him any confidence. When Scarlet, the baby of the family gets sick, Justin needs help. With no other option than to knock on the closest neighbor’s door…he knocks. When Del answers, he answers more than just the door…he answers the fear, the need for help and maybe even Justin’s prayers.
Del Abbot is living in Enterprise for two reasons, one he has the best memories of his grandmother’s home and two, he’s running. He’s running from a failed marriage and from losing his baby…the restaurant he was the chef in and owned with his ex-husband. Del is a natural born caregiver and he sees the need that Justin and his young siblings have just for some kindness in their lives. One way Del knows to help is with food. He has the knowledge and the means to do at least this for Justin…to lighten his burden a little. Soon meals turn to babysitting and friendship. Then against all odds, that friendship sparks. There are obstacles in the way, a pretty big age gap, an unforgiving town and some dangerous relatives. But Justin and Del are stronger than they realize and these three young kids deserve their very best. They will both bend and compromise to make this new family a reality.
This book really got to me; these kids had been through so much. Watching not only Justin and Del grow and blossom, but the kids as well…was just beautiful. Not all authors write kids well, it’s a hard thing to do. These two authors made me feel as if these kids were real, I felt their fear, their pain and anger…they were the heart of this story. This isn’t a book about two people coming together, it’s about five people becoming a family. I so highly recommend this one, it will make your heart smile.
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