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Review: Lakeside Family by Lisa Jordan

18 Jul

Lakeside Family by Lisa Jordan
Harlequin (July 24, 2012)
Mass Market: $5.95; ebook: $4.75
ISBN: 9780373877621

Favorite Lines: “Hannah Peretti, you are the most beautiful child I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing. You take my breath away. I look at you and thank God for the perfect gift He has given me. You’re gorgeous. you must get that from your mother. But you know what? Being beautiful doesn’t come from the clothes you wear, the color of your eyes or how much hair you have. Being beautiful comes from within. In this story, the little boy loved the rabbit even though others thought it was ugly. He was faded, ratty and dirty, but to the boy, the rabbit was real. Hannah, my love, you are beautiful from the inside out.” (p. 110-111, egalley)

In the space of a minute, Nick Brennan learns he has a nine-year-old daughter—and that she desperately needs his help. All this time, his high school sweetheart, single mother Josie Peretti, thought he knew about their child. And that he just didn’t care. About the ill little girl—or Josie, the woman he’s never forgotten. But Nick made a long-ago promise never to forsake his family the way his father did. A promise he vows to make good on now…if only Josie will bless him with a second chance.

I’m not a huge fan of inspirational romance, but occasionally it hits a need inside of me. In Lakeside Family, I thought I’d get sucked into a light-hearted Christian romance, but what I got was a suspicious, rude and down right unlikeable heroine who ruined the story for me.

Lakeside Family reunites teenage lovers 10 years after a night of passion which led to the conception of a daughter. The man, Nick, had no idea that he was a father so he is shocked when he hears the news early in the book. The woman, Josie, told Nick’s mother about her pregnancy and when she never heard from Nick, Josie assumed he wanted no part in his daughter’s life.  She had no idea that his mother would keep the pregnancy secret and she has a hard time adjusting to the idea of co-parenting.

I get that. I also understand that Josie is stressed out trying to manage her small business and caring for her daughter who is fighting a life threatening illness. I have a problem with a heroine who is so small minded that she cannot accept help or input from anyone. It happened so often that I was cursing while reading a Christian book. Kind of defeats the purpose of the story in my mind. How about a few examples? To avoid spoilers stop reading now!!!!!!!!!!!!

When Josie can’t come up with the mortgage payment Nick deposits enough money to pay it for a couple of months. He wants to help anyway he can and sees the money as a payment towards missed child support. Without her knowledge he has the money deposited into Josie’s account. Her reaction?

“The second Josie’s heart had softened against Nick, he pulled a stunt that proved he couldn’t be trusted. Hearing the doorbell, Josie gripped the countertop until her knuckles whitened. An hour wasn’t enough time to get over his deception.”–p. 102

She’s thinking all of that and begins fussing at Nick, but doesn’t thank him for helping her out. Why? “She hated the relief she’d felt.”  Even after Nick explains his thinking on the situation, Josie attacks him and flings accusations at him.

“Are you saying I can’t take care of my own daughter?”
“Our daughter, Josie. You need to remember I’m a part of her life now.”
“You didn’t know she existed until I told you.”–p. 103

Start reading again. Really? And yes, this attitude continued through the rest of the book. Josie found fault with everything Nick did and did not do. She harangued him and beat him down. She never thought about the issues he might be facing. She didn’t consider how the news of being a father was affecting him.

Maybe another woman can ignore or pass off Josie’s irrational behavior as an emotional reaction to the stress she’s under. Not I. Josie came across as a taker and not a woman willing to partner with a man in a loving, permanent relationship.

My dislike for the heroine overshadowed everything else about the book. I fixated and hated her more and more. By the time the story ended I was felt bad for Nick cause all I see is a future filled with nagging. Had he been paired with a different woman I probably would have enjoyed the story. As it is, I’m just happy to have finished the story.