A PLACE CALLED HOME

by Jo Goodman

Publisher: Zebra (Kensington)

Published: December 06, 2011

Format: Paperback (432 pages)

ISBN: 9780821774182

Origin: Publisher

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Fate sets in motion plans a married couple, with children, made before a tragic accident led to their deaths, and their three children’s lives hang in the balance between two unrelated people.

However, the promises these hapless guardians made wasn’t really supposed to happen, or so they thought.

Now, Mitchell Baker is a single, surrogate father waiting on these kids’ future surrogate mother, Thea Wyndham, to go all womanly on him and want these children all to herself.  Not that he’d mind, exactly, but he was very active with these kids before his friends’ passing and plans to be even more so after their deaths.  Having the kids for a solid month has made his love life suffer, but along the way, he’s not minding the added responsibility as much as the woman in his life, at the moment, seems to.

It’s just that being a bachelor, even with the help of his close family, he’s not sure he can raise the kids the right way.  But when he meets the other surrogate parent with their respective attorneys, it doesn’t go as Mitch plans.

Thea Wyndham does not want these kids, and as if they were mere mammals, she’ll participate only in their care and feeding with a minimal of her time wasted on visits.  Her coldness floors him, but his protectiveness for these kids come through loud and clear without the attorneys in the room.  Mitch tells her exactly how he feels and refuses her offer of financial support.

Meanwhile, Thea Wyndham is the daughter from a set of older parents.  She grew up without a nurturing environment; how would she be able to raise these children?  A recovering prescription drug addict, who has to work her future marriage plans around her parent’s selfish full schedule just be able to include them, she’s not parenting material. No.  Her life is not a place for kids.

Thea’s engaged to a man thirty years her senior who already had his family and raised his kids; her betrothed wants to keep his freedom from these type of responsibilities and have a future with Thea.

However, she’s beginning to discover just how much his freedom seems to outweigh his love for Thea, when he obsesses over time she’ll be spending with these children and not with him.  Now, it’s true that when they became a couple, Thea Wyndham didn’t want children and still doesn’t want children.  Nevertheless, she wants to spend time with her charges, born of one of her best friends, and that’s something that her fiancée wishes not to do.

In the meanwhile, these two newly appointed guardians’ complications come through their own backgrounds and their own baggage, and though they’ve known each other as best friends to the deceased couple, they really didn’t know each other at all. 

Mitch was always interested in Thea, but his interest made Thea run the other way.

Can these two, who’ve never parented, find a way to raise a family as a separate, never married or divorced couple or will raising this family require a whole new family unit?

My Take:

I recommend A PLACE CALLED HOME by Jo Goodman.

Right from the start, I fell in love with Mitch and the children, but it was through knowing Thea’s story that I bonded with her as well.

Jo Goodman reverses the stereotypes and roles any reader would expect in this tale, but she does it with a flair for transforming her characters into humans with frailties and faults right before the readers eyes. She draws us in and hold our attention because we need to know how it all turns out for the kids and for the surrogate parents.

This is a story of family, responsibility, and romance.

The love in this romance comes from many angles, the kids falling in love with their guardians, the newbie parents falling for the kids, and when the adults change their own characters enough, they find that special kind of intimacy known as love.

I’m sure you’ll want to read some of Jo Goodman’s other titles such as her historical romances, MARRY ME (Zebra 2010) and NEVER LOVE A LAWMAN (Zebra 2009).

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