I've been wanting to read this trilogy since reading author Maureen Child's "Marconi Sisters" trilogy - the two series are connected in...moreRating: 4.5 / 5
I've been wanting to read this trilogy since reading author Maureen Child's "Marconi Sisters" trilogy - the two series are connected in that they take place in the same town and share characters - but it took me a while to find the books. These first two books didn't disappoint, though. Child tells a good contemporary romance.
This volume contains two books, and not short stories either. The book is basically two full length novels glued together in one edition that totals almost 700 pages.
In the first book, Finding You, Child introduces the Candellano family - headed by Italian immigrant matriarch Angela followed by her 3 sons, Tony, Paul and Nick, and her daughter Carla. Finding You focuses on Carla, a canine search and rescue expert who retired after the tragic loss of a little boy she hoped to save. Since that day two years earlier, she has retreated from the world, blaming herself for the young boy's death.
Then she meets her new neighbor, summer vacationer Jackson Wyatt and his six year old daughter Reese. Jackson brought his daughter to Chandler, CA in hopes of healing her emotional problems caused by the sudden, tragic death of his wife a year earlier. Reese hasn't spoken a word since that day. And Jackson plans to devote the summer to helping his daughter. He hadn't expected Carla Candellano, the attraction he felt for her, or the way she seemed to be able to reach Reese. They both try to fight it, but its hopeless. But in order to move on to the future, both will have to learn to let go of the past.
This was such a sweet story. Little Reese just breaks your heart. I'm not generally a fan of romance novels where kids play a big role, but it worked for this book. Maureen Child did a great job portraying Reese's situation, how Jackson handled it, and how Carla got involved. It was an engaging storyline.
The romance was well done as well. There's a great emotional struggle between the characters and some nice chemistry. A little steam as well. Just a very readable and enjoyable romance.
I also liked how involved the other members of the family are in the story. You get to learn a lot about everyone. There's a side story about Tony's, the oldest Candellano brother's, marital problems. And there's Nick's struggle with big changes in his life. Reading all about them gives the story a real cohesiveness.
The second story, Knowing You, features Paul Candellano, who has secretly been infatuated with honorary family member Stevie Ryan for years. He never had a chance with her, though, because she was involved with his twin brother, Nick, who treated her pretty badly. The two have been broken up for two years, now, though, and on the night of Carla's wedding a simple dare between Paul and Stevie changes everything, revealing an attraction Paul had hoped to keep hidden and Stevie had never realized existed.
But once it's out, Stevie does everything she can to fight it. The Candellano's are the only family she has and she won't do anything to risk losing them. So how she keeps ending up in bed with Paul is a mystery. She keeps telling herself it won't happen again, but Paul is worming his way into her heart.
Like the first book, this is another sweet romance story. I enjoyed the way the romance played out between Stevie and Paul...a simple dare about a kiss and WHOOSH! And I liked that the two had a friendship as a base to build off of. Each had their own emotional battle to fight...Paul's logical mind making him fight his true feelings, and Stevie's desperate need for a family.
Also like the first book, the other characters play a large role in the story. This is one of those trilogies where the characters aren't insular to their book. They are a part of each story. I love that. It's makes the whole sense of family that much stronger. I always get frustrated by seroes that feature a pair in one book then practically forgets them in the next. That definitely doesn't happen in this series.
And because of that use of characters, I'm really curious about how Nick's book will play out. So far, he hasn't been exactly likable. It'll be interesting to see how he is redeemed in the next book, Loving You.
If you're a fan of contemporary romances that aren't too light or fluffy, have great characters and a great sense of family, then I'd definitely recommend this book (and series). I really enjoyed reading these first too book.(less)
Not my favorite of the three books of this trilogy, but still an enjoyable contemporary romance. I wasn't quite sure how this book woul...moreRating: 3.5 / 5
Not my favorite of the three books of this trilogy, but still an enjoyable contemporary romance. I wasn't quite sure how this book would work out considering how Nick is introduced in the first two books of the series. But Maureen Child did a pretty good job of developing the character and making him likable.
Nick Candellano is struggling with the fact that his NFL career is over due to injury. He has no idea what to do with his life now. He hopes to move into broadcasting, but the only job he gets is covering high school sports - something he considers an insult. Then, to make matters worse, he is served with paternity papers filed by an eleven year old boy who swears his mother claimed Nick was his father. Nick is shocked and doesn't want to deal with the mess or for the media to get hold of the story. Initially, he hopes to essentially buy the boy off, but things don't go as planned once he meets Jonas and his guardian Tasha.
For Tasha, Jonas is the only family she has in the entire world. Their little unit is already threatened when Nick shows up on the scene. And all she wants is for him to go away. She won't let him win Jonas over. Unfortunately, Nick won't go away and every day she feels like Jonas is slipping away from her and that she'll end up alone. Even more confusing is the fact that she is attracted to Nick. But what would a rich stud like him want with a nobody like her?
I wondered more than once how Nick's story would play out while reading the first two books of this trilogy. He's portrayed rather negatively in both books. He's selfish, self-centered, egotistical. He treated his former girlfriend, Stevie, horribly...cheating on her numerous times. And in the first book he was practically a drunk as he tried to deal with the end of his career.
So yeah, having read all that made you wonder how he would translate into hero material for book 3 of the trilogy. For the first chunk of this book, he's still rather full of himself, thinking he's "all that." But he does grow and change throughout the book. Connecting with Jonas and Tasha makes him face things about himself and truly see how he was acting. He develops some humility and compassion. I can't say grew into liking him a lot, but by the end of the book, I liked him enough.
Tasha, on the other hand, I never quite grew into liking entirely. Something about her irritated me. As much as she bitched at Nick for being a conceited jerk, she was rather self-focused as well. With the whole situation of Jonas' paternity, she turned everything around to how it related to her. Her attitude just annoyed me.
Between the the two of them and their personality foibles, the romance was a little flat for me. It also creeps along in its development and the resolution between the two at the end felt sort of rushed. So I had a hard time with that aspect of the book.
But like the other two, I enjoyed the overall family aspect. It wasn't quite as prevalent in this book, but it was still there. Plus, this book also introduces the Marconi sisters, who are featured in Child's Marconi Sisters trilogy (another great contemporary romance series...which, if I didn't have so many TBR books, I'd reread).
Even though I didn't love this book, it was still a pretty good read. Definitely one you'd want to read if you read the other two books in the trilogy. (less)