Baby, I'm Yours by Karen Templeton
Series: Guys and Daughters #3
Publication Date: April 1st 2008
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All Kevin Vaccaro had wanted to do, when he went looking for his ex-girlfriend on the other side of the country, was to apologize for not fighting harder to help her overcome the same drug and alcohol dependency issues that had held him in bondage for years. Except his ex is dead...leaving behind a baby girl. Jobless, homeless, clean for barely a year, how the hell is Kevin supposed to prove to Pippa’s grandfather – and her widowed aunt, the baby’s primary caregiver – that he deserves custody of his own child?
Julianne McCabe knows letting Kevin stay in her father’s house for a month – Victor Booth’s condition for even considering eventually giving Kevin custody – means very possibly having to give up the child she loves as her own. If Kevin takes Pippa away, Julianne’s heart will break. But even worse, watching Kevin’s fight to earn her father’s – and Julianne’s – trust threatens to dissolve the safe cocoon she’s woven around herself since her husband’s death.
And that will never do...
Have you ever read a book so good you almost don’t know what to say about it? Or how to properly express it’s greatness? That’s what happened to me with this book. (And also with Meljean Brook’s Demon Night. Just so you know)
I reviewed the first two books in this series at The Good, The Bad and The Unread. We’re introduced to the hero of this novel in the first book, Dear Santa, and see him again in the second, Yours, Mine…or Ours. I loved both the first two books in the series, but this is the one I wanted more than anything. Right from the beginning Kevin intrigued me, and I’m happy to report I wasn’t disappointed.
Kevin is a recovering drug and alcohol addict and I’m woman enough to admit this turned me off some even before I started reading. Yes, I’m shallow like that. Partly because I know some real life addicts who’ve proclaimed to be clean while not (and I have a suspicious nature and tend to be cynical) and partly because I’ve read other books about recovering addicts where they were portrayed as villainous or in an unflattering way, so I was somewhat prejudiced.
But despite my apprehension going in, I loved this book. Kevin is a wonderfully simple, yet complex, character. We can see that though he struggled in his past, he wants to be clean and he wants to be a better man. He still struggles, but he overcomes.
When he learns he has a daughter, his reaction is amazingly real. It’s not “Oh, I love her already” and it’s not “Oh gosh, I never wanted this” but instead it’s a mix of the two. A, “Holy shit, what do I do now” kind of thing. And I think that’s as close to real as you can get from a man who’s just starting to put the pieces of his life back together. But the way he steps up, the way he immediately does what he needs to do to be the man his daughter needs him to be..well, that’s the measure of a real man, in my opinion.
Julianne is also a complex, real character. She was widowed young, and by a man she loved more than life. I think in her situation (and having just married the man of my dreams, I can truly put myself where she was – er, minus the loss) is one which all of us fear, and her reaction to it – to draw a protective bubble around herself and hide from life – was how most of us would choose to react. The thing is, too many times an author can’t express this kind of pain without making the heroine seem stupid, or cowardly. Karen Templeton not only captured it perfectly, but she had me in tears several time, as I watched Julianne’s shell slowly crack open.
And I have to tell you, the end of this book, the thing that Kevin does? It totally tore me apart. I actually sobbed. Not just sniffled, or got misty eyed, or cried a little, but literally sobbed. Because, crap, that was ROUGH. And totally selfless.
This is one of those novels that’s very character driven and shows two people who grow and change, because of the help of the other. Simply amazing. A warning, though, it is somewhat on the sweet side, and I know some of you don’t enjoy that.
I just can’t say enough about this book. Although the previous two books are well done and wonderful, this one far outshines them. It was well written, emotional, poignant, real and had just enough humor to keep it balanced. Go forth and buy.
Karen Templeton is now my new favorite author, and one I feel the need to glom. Join me, won’t you?
5 out of 5