Jonathan Lamb has lived his entire life in an orphanage. He was sickly as a child and was never adopted. After his 18th birthday, he stays on as a handyman. The sisters who run the home and the children there are his only family. There comes a time when the sisters think it’s time for Jonathan to move on and enter the outside world. He finds himself being interviewed for, and hired on, as the nanny/caretaker of three children who are the young cousins of a very wealthy man.
Charles Macquerrie is that wealthy man. He is the sole owner of a major clothing company, and he becomes the guardian of his cousins because there are no other family members to take care of them. In fact, those three children are the only family he has left. However, even though he can run a huge company, he’s completely clueless (and rather useless) when it comes to caring for them. However, when Jonathan enters their lives, he brings just what they need to become a real family.
Things aren’t all smooth sailing for the Macquarries, though. Accusations of embezzlement, disappearances, and the need to run and hide take over. There is missing money and government investigations. Charles, Jonathan, and the children head to a cabin in the woods to wait everything out, but soon, their carefully built world begins to collapse.
I think Finding Family was a great story. I enjoyed reading it. It had a little bit of everything. Romance, certainly, but there was financial intrigue, a bit of a mystery, some humor, sex, and the slow road to family happiness. I adored Jonathan. He’s a sweet, helpful young man who turned what others would consider a sad and lonely life into a positive thing. He loves the nuns and other children at the orphanage. He stays busy and has become quite the handyman. I got the impression he was gentle and loving, and the outside world needed him to be in it. I wasn’t too sure about Charles at first. He was gruff and because he knew nothing about children, he seemed almost uncaring. You know who he sort of reminded me of? Captain Von Trapp from The Sound of Music. The children looked good and had discipline, but he didn’t know how to actually love them. I should have known better because, well, Captain Von Trapp (or Christopher Plummer) was my first love. I was six, he sang Eidelweiss, and I was a goner. Watching Charles slowly become a loving father figure to those children warmed my heart.
Jonathan and Charles have a perfectly balanced chemistry. Their relationship starts out uncomfortably. It progresses slowly, but not too slowly. Charles notices the difference in the children, and he’s impressed with Jonathan. His being impressed leads to trust and friendship…then more. The book itself isn’t very long, but it evolves at a perfect pace. Jonathan becomes Charles’s rock…the children’s too. When they finally realize they’re more than just a boss and employee, it was lovely. There’s also a nice heat between them, and you all know by now how much I love the heat 🙂
The background characters all play a very important role. From the sisters at the orphanage to Charles’s trusted (but not very friendly) lawyer, they’re all necessary to the plot. I was especially fond of Bunny, Charles’s best friend. He was sort of the comic relief, even though he was a real badass when it came down to protecting Charles and the rest of the family. Oh, and the children! I have a love/hate relationship with children in books, especially romance books. It seems like they’re either too precocious, or too immature, but Madeleine, Juliana, and Holland are great…smart, charming, and sweet. They’re also fiercely protective of Jonathan and Charles.
Finding Family does have an ongoing mystery, and I have to admit, Connie Bailey got me. I’m usually pretty good at figuring out the endgame, but I am very pleased to report I was surprised. It was well written and smooth. A lightbulb flicked on, but my head didn’t spin, and that’s pretty important to me
All in all, I have no trouble recommending Finding Family. It’s got something for everyone. Also, I’m more than willing to go and check out some of Bailey’s other books. Pick this one up.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.