Together With You – Victoria Bylin – Bethany House Publishers – Published 7 April 2015
When a Lost Child warning blasts over the mall’s PA system, toy store manager Carly Mason finds the little girl playing with a stuffed rabbit. Something about five-year-old Penny Tremaine is different. An ex-social worker, Carly recognizes that Penny suffers fetal alcohol effects, and a piece of Carly’s own past suddenly confronts her. Never again will Carly become involved with a client. The risks are far too great. But something about Penny–and Penny’s handsome father–tugs at Carly’s heart. Before she has time to think it through, she agrees to a much-needed job as a nanny.
Ryan never anticipated being so drawn to Carly, an attraction Carly seems to fight as much as he does. Could Carly be the missing piece that helps his family stay afloat, or will their blossoming romance only complicate things further?
Together With You is the second book I have read by Victoria Bylin, and I enjoyed it much more than Until I Found You. Unfortunately, I had let my apathy for Until I Found You cloud my judgement of Victoria Bylin and her writing. I am glad I gave her a second chance because I enjoyed this novel of family healing, second (and maybe third and forth) chances, love, and children with special needs.
Carly has worked with children and teens with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) before. But she left that life after a mistake cost a young girl her safety. When Dr Ryan Tremaine, a young dad with three children, one of whom has FASD, asks her to be their nanny, Carly’s first response is a firm no. But the father’s desperation and cold aloofness towards his children and the family’s general meltdown at her workplace convince her that this is a family who could use her help and love. Carly works with little Penny on boundaries, helps the older boys understand their sister and grow within their own interests, and shows Dr Tremaine how to connect with his children. She fills a hole Ryan didn’t even notice they had. But Carly’s belief in God, forgiveness, and a pure life are vastly different to Ryan’s own beliefs.
This book covers so much and had so much more in it than I was expecting. Carly is a loving and kind character, but hard on herself, especially regarding her mistakes when working with teens with FASD. This book certainly is realistic about life and human weaknesses. Ryan is no saintly hero. He is upfront about his many mistakes, including an affair that led to Penny’s conception and her resulting exposure to alcohol. Carly and Ryan have many differences and obstacles that prevent them from following their growing attraction.
This book is honest and realistic about the complications of love, family and life.
Genre: Christian contemporary.
Themes: Family, FASD, romance, children, parenting, guilt, second chances, faith.
Published: 7 April 2015 by Bethany House Publishers.
Format: Paperback, ebook. 336 pages.