Rena Jorgensen has everything a thirty-something single woman could want: a career as an interior decorator that is growing by leaps and bounds; a steady, pleasant boyfriend; loving parents and siblings, and a best friend.
While Rena is in love and has a boyfriend, the two do not go hand-in-hand. Rena finds herself trying to tamp down feelings for her longtime best friend, Tucker. Dashing and handsome, no man Rena dates comes close to measuring up to Tucker. But Rena's been friends with him long enough that she knows he'll never see her as anything but a buddy.
When Tucker's brother and sister-in-law perish as the result of an accident, he is faced with a dilemma-- in the form of his small niece and nephew. Tucker has promised his brother he'll take care of the children, but being in the military means he could be called in from the reserves at any time, and Social Services has reservations about him being a single father in that situation.
Tucker can only come up with one plan to keep his brother's children: marriage. And he only knows one woman well enough to consider asking. The question is, as much as Rena wants love, children, and a family, will accepting a ready-made one--with the possibility of no deep, romantic love--be the best decision she'll ever make, or the worst disaster ever?
For me, the test of enjoying a book is whether it draws me. If I'm interested in a story and what happens, I keep thinking about it until I reach the end.
Family by Design drew me in, and I couldn't wait to finish it. A couple of nights ago, after my kids and husband went to bed, I got my chance. I curled up with some butter pecan ice cream, a warm, fleece blanket, and Family by Design.
One of the things I enjoy most about Heather Justesen's writing is the attention she gives her female leads. They are strong without being obnoxious, and very smart, yet have a tender, vulnerable side to them. I am always interested in their careers. Heather obviously does her research, and that helps the characters' jobs to be entertaining, which sets her books apart in this area. I always feel like I'm learning from an insider's perspective on an industry.
The romance in this book is very nicely done. The kisses were sweet and very romantic while staying clean. I was agonizing through much of this book, which to me is the hallmark of a good romance. I did yearn for Rena to ask Tucker point-blank what his problem was with an emotional issue. But that's another reason I kept going back to the story, because I couldn't reach in there and shake the characters, so I had to find out what happened!
I particularly liked how realistically the children were depicted, with all their trials. The children were treated like the real characters (And in the case of the nephew, I do mean character!) they were, which added to the tenderness and sweetness of the story. I really enjoyed reading how Rena dealt with her hardships, and appreciated the fact that they weren't glossed over. Being an LDS-themed book, I did wonder where her church family was, especially after certain plot points, but I was so interested in the story that I soon forgot about that. Rena is a down-to-earth heroine who is easy to relate to, and I couldn't help but agonize and root for her. I'm looking forward to Heather Justesen's next book!
*I wasn't compensated in any way for this review.*
Also, as a special promotion for anyone who buys a book ( Amazon Barnes and Noble )before February 5th, you can get a free ebook for her companion novella, “Shear Luck.” Once you buy a copy of her book go here Shear Luck to get your free copy!
As if that weren’t enough, Heather’s holding a host of giveaways! There are still prizes left, so hurry to her blog to find the rules of entering!