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Finding Glory (Home to Glory) Mass Market Paperback – May 26, 2015
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"Return to Glory is full of heartbreak, hope and redemption." -New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter
About the Author
Sara Arden lives in a town very much like Glory, Kansas-- right down to Haymarket Square and the Corner Pharmacy. She started reading romance at a young age and by the time she entered high school, aced world history without ever cracking her textbook because of all the historicals she'd read. Besides reading, Sara enjoys paleo cooking, the smell of old books, tea and pedicures. She loves to hear from her readers.
Top customer reviews
I really wanted to like this book based on the premise. For personal reasons, any story that revolves around a woman raising a child who is not her own is right in my wheelhouse. And it started off great…with a meeting of matchmaking grannies. Some of my favorite series have meddling grannies in them…the St. Helena series by Marina Adair, meddling Mayor Marsha from Fool’s Gold by Susan Mallery, and Lucille from Lucky Harbor by Jill Shalvis. The meeting was a cute way to introduce the matchmaking grannies, but by the middle of the chapter I was confused. There was a lot of information given and it was difficult to keep track of who was who without going back to the beginning of the chapter. I thought that maybe my confusion was caused because I was starting a book in the middle of the series, so I kept reading.
The premise of the book is that Gina has put her life and career pursuits on hold to raise her sister’s child, Amanda Jane. The little girl’s father, Reed, was once seen by the town as a no good drug addict but has made a success of his life in recent years. He has recently moved back to town…to a place called Snob Hill. At first I thought that was a nickname for the rich part of town, but alas it was not. Anyway, Gina is suing him for child support since she is struggling to make ends meet while raising his daughter. A daughter Reed didn’t even know about, as it turns out.
Now at the aforementioned grannies meeting, Gina’s grandmother mentioned to one of her granny friends (a judge, who happens to be hearing the case) that she suggest marriage between Reed and Gina as a resolution to the custody case. I thought it was a joke, not a real legal alternative. But, oh no, that is exactly what happens! As a teacher and daughter of a lawyer, I have heard of some supremely dumb rulings handed down in child custody/child support cases in my day but this was the most unbelievable thing I had ever read! And the lawyers agree to it!! I understand that this is a work of fiction, but there has to be at least some sort of reality thrown in for good measure. I have read a few “marriage of convenience” stories in my day but this one took the cake. Usually marriages of convenience are to avoid the legal system, not handed down by them.
Since this ridiculous story is the premise for the rest of the book, I couldn’t get into it. I think there were far better ways to get Gina and Reed to spend time together. She is raising the man's child, for God's sake. A child that he didn't know existed and wants to get to know. That story just about writes itself. Amanda Jane was adorable, Gina and Reed were charming, but it just wasn’t enough for me to get over the ridiculous storyline.
Growing up on the wrong side of Glory, Kansas, Gina Townsend saw the despair and hopelessness drive some of those closest to her to the edge but she was determined to get out and she did. However, her sister's death brought her back to raise the daughter she left behind but struggling to raise her niece while working two jobs to make ends meet and trying to complete her college courses has become very difficult and she sues the father, local boy turned millionaire, Reed Hollingsworth for child support.
Reed Hollingsworth grew up on the wrong side of Glory alongside Gina and her sister and that life pushed him to find escape in drugs, something he had in common with Gina's sister. Luckily for him, he clawed his way out and made his fortune in stocks. The child support suit is the first time he's aware of his daughter and marriage of convenience may be the only solution to their problem.
Gina was in love with Reed when they were younger and while he's now off limits, she will marry him to give her niece the life she never had- family, the comfort of involved parents, a roof over her head and lots of love. Easier said than done because together in close proximity, Reed and Gina can't keep their feelings in check, but Ginass experiences have taught her that once an addict, always an addict and she fears that giving in to how she feels for Reed would end in her getting hurt.
While I enjoyed reading FINDING GLORY, there were a few situations that required me to suspend belief in reality. However, Ms. Arden is on point with the small town vibe with the festivals and carnivals, the nosy and matchmaking grandmas, the struggles both Gina and Reed faced as they adjusted to their changing relationship as parents and also as a couple and their efforts to make it work. She captures the distrust and doubts that are commonplace when dealing with an addict as well as the disquiet that comes with loving one ad it's very obvious that loves is not always about hearts and roses.
The pace is slow and the romance is more sensual than steamy. I didn't really care for Gina, though. Gina was too much of a goody-two shoes, all that was missing was the halo and her indecision about what she wanted from Reed was quite annoying. Her redeeming feature was her devotion to her niece. Reed was sweet and earnest about making things work, including dealing with his past and its effect on everyone around him. Overall, FINDING GLORY was a sweet and enjoyable book to read.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.