I recently read Stephanie Dees’ 4 books in the Family Blessings Series, and I must say, I was impressed not only by Dees’ writing but also how she handled the characters life situations.
The books are geared more toward those over 16, and also those not new to the Christian faith.
Dees adeptly illustrates that becoming a Christian doesn’t get you a “golden ticket to a life free from sin. Mistakes will be and are made, consequences occur and lessons are learned.
I haven’t read Harlequin Inspirational books in years. However, this series intrigued me. I am glad I decided to read it. The author does a great job with interweaving a Biblical message while at the same time handling some very complex and realistic stories. We have all made mistakes in our lives, and Dees illustrates how God can take some of those mistakes and as a portion of Isaiah 61:3 says “… to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; …”
The Dad Next Door, book one in the series, introduces us to Red Hill Springs, Alabama. I enjoyed reading about a small town, full of the good and the bad that one encounters there.
The story takes three lost, broken people, Joe Sheehan and his daughter, plus Claire Conley, and shows how with help from God, friends and family things can become better and home can become home.
I ached for both Joe and Claire. Joe wants so desperately to bond with his daughter, Amelia. However, in typical hurt, bewildered and angry pre-teen fashion she pushes him away. Claire came to Red Hill Springs with such high hopes wanting to help foster children. But her inheritance is nothing like the picture she saw. Both must work hard to overcome many obstacles and the town’s preconceived ideas.
Book two in the series, A Baby for the Doctor, focuses on the siblings of the two main characters in The Dad Next Door, Jordan Conley and Ash Sheehan.
The story intertwines Jordan’s life with Claire’s when Jordan begins equine therapy for Claire’s children. Ash becomes a vital member of the team when he becomes the pediatrician for Claire’s foster children.
Equine therapy is defined as a form of therapy based on experience and observation that involves interactions between patients and horses to promote human physical and mental health.
Not far into the story, I realized Jordan was “just what the doctor ordered” (pun intended). Ash’s persona was that of someone who just stepped out of GQ magazine, hardly a candidate for a doctor to children on a farm full of horses, goats and kittens. In contrast, Jordan was not afraid to get in the mud and get dirty, mucking out stalls and playing with animals and children alike.
In Their Secret Baby Bond, we meet Wynn, Joe and Ash’s sister, when she returns home broken and lost after losing the man she loves when she tells him she is pregnant.
Wynn fell, and fell hard, for her dreams. She dreamed of being a politician’s wife and her job working for a Congressman that loved her fit the bill. That is, until she realized he didn’t love her but was only using her and wanted nothing more to do with her, and wanted her to get rid of their baby.
It wasn’t hard to feel great empathy for Wynn. How difficult it must have been for her to return home and admit not only had she been so wrong in what she thought, but she was also pregnant.
The Marriage Bargain tells the story of Juliet “Jules” Sheehan, who becomes an instant mother when her best friend, Glory, is killed in a car accident.
Cam Quinn, the girl’s uncle, returns to town with every intention of adopting his nieces, but he didn’t count on Jules being there, nor her determination to fulfill his sister’s dying wishes.
I can’t imagine what Jules and Cam went through after losing Glory. I lost my baby brother several years ago, and I’m still not fully recovered from the suddenness and sadness of losing him.
Before Glory’s death, Cam had created a new life for himself as a writer of adventure stories, traveling to distant countries for research when he was unable to continue living in Red Hill Springs. Jules was an entrepreneur with a thriving business. When there seemed no way to keep the children except for them to marry, they accepted the challenge and married.
I received this series from JustRead Tours. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.
The Dad Next Door
A Place to Call Home
Lawman Joe Sheehan is desperate to bond with the daughter he’s just discovered he has. But as a virtual stranger to twelve-year-old Amelia, the task seems impossible. Until Claire Conley moves to town. A social worker renovating a mansion into a foster home, Claire is the first person to get through to Amelia. Falling for the single dad was not on Claire’s to-do list. But with Joe and Amelia around, the house finally starts to feel like home. Claire’s ready to fight to convince Joe that together they’ve done more than fix a house…they’ve built a family.
A Baby for the Doctor
A Family to Call Her Own
After becoming a foster parent to a young boy, equine therapist Jordan Conley’s life gets turned upside down. Little Levi is in need of an exceptional pediatrician, which means seeking help from Dr. Ash Sheehan — a man that, despite her heart-pounding crush, isn’t her type. Her life is horses and hay, and she can’t imagine the suit-clad doctor in a pair of cowboy boots. As a confirmed bachelor, Ash has never been nervous around women, but there’s something about Jordan that flusters him, and working closely together doesn’t help. The last thing he’s looking for is long-term romance. But the more involved he gets, the more he wishes they could stay together…always.
Their Secret Baby Bond
He wanted roots. She chose career. Can a baby bring them back together?
Wynn Sheehan planned to change the world — not return to Alabama alone and pregnant. Her life is in shambles, but at least she can help take care of Latham Grant’s ailing grandpa. Latham isn’t ready to trust the woman who eagerly left him and their small town behind. But can they ignore the spark rekindled by unexpected Family Blessings?
The Marriage Bargain
Falling for her convenient groom…
Jules Sheehan will do anything to keep custody of the two orphaned girls in her care- including a marriage of convenience with their uncle. Cam Quinn crosses the globe as a travel writer, but he’s ready to settle down. Now tough, tender Jules is offering the home he’s secretly longed for. Can this marriage in name only become a family of the heart?