2008, Series Romance
Sil Special Edition #1892, $4.99, 213 pages, Amazon ASIN 037324892X Part of a series
Gina Wilkins has been an auto-buy comfort read for me for years. Her books tend to focus on people with real lives and complicated families. Finding Family, a sequel to The Bridesmaid's Gifts, has many of these characteristics and did not disappoint.
After living in a small apartment for years, Dr. Mark Thomas moved into his first home. Because the two-story house is relatively bare, he hired Rachel Madison to remedy the situation. As the book begins, Rachel and Mark have already begun their professional relationship, and have expanded it to include a fledgling personal relationship as well.
Both Rachel and Mark have family issues to deal with and much of the book focuses on these issues and how they affect Rachel and Mark's relationship. Mark has just learned that everything he believed about himself is a lie after two unexpected visitors told him that the single mother who raised him had probably kidnapped him from the Brannon family as a toddler. The two visitors are one of the Brannon's other sons and his fiancée, the hero and heroine of The Bridesmaid's Gifts.
Rachel has been on her own for the past three years after the end of her marriage and is the caretaker for her widowed mother, as well as her younger brother and sister, who are in their late teens and early twenties and should not require as much help as they do. Rachel also helps out her ex-husband and is friendly with his new wife - all of which makes Rachel sound like a doormat, but that's not the way she comes across. She cares for everyone in her life, and truly wants the best for them.
While family issues are front and center in the book, we do see other parts of Rachel and Mark's lives. I like heroines who have full, busy lives, and Rachel's is definitely full, if not overflowing. I thought the role that telephone calls play in Rachel's life was interesting. She constantly gets calls from family and friends, often at inopportune moments. Mark also has a full life. He works long hours in his new medical practice, spends time with friends playing poker, and tries to squeeze in as much time as he can for his burgeoning relationship with Rachel.
I enjoy books where we get to see the hero or heroine at work. We see Rachel decorating Mark's home, shopping with him for furniture, dealing with problems on another worksite, and planning a future job. The author gives vivid descriptions of the rooms Rachel creates in Mark's homes. They left me wishing I could hire Rachel to decorate my home.
Neither Mark nor Rachel is perfect, but they're both very likable, and read as real people with real differences. Their quarrels feel authentic, and the final resolution is very satisfying. Although this book is a sequel, I believe it stands well on its own. If you're wondering where all the good series romances have gone, I'd suggest you give Gina Wilkins a try.
-- LinnieGayl Kimmel
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