This was my first Nicole Deese novel, but I hope it won’t be my last. What a heartwarming story. I loved the adoption journey, hard as it was at times. I was not sure at first how I felt about the idea of intentionally adopting as a single parent, since I believe God intended kids to need fathers too, but God’s best isn’t always what happens in this broken world, and this book made me think of what I’ve read about single Christian women in the early church taking in children the Roman culture had abandoned. I love fiction that makes me think, and this book definitely did that—what would I have done in this situation?
The story’s premise really drew me in because it’s not a typical romance setup. And this was not a typical romance. It had its mushy moments here and there, of course, but it was filled with real, deep, sacrificial love—the kind of love that says, I’ll wait until you’re ready; I’ll step away if that’s what’s best for you. That kind of love is beautiful, and it was made even more so by the fact that these characters didn’t just have a vague belief in God; they had a living, growing faith that clearly started with receiving Christ as Savior and trying to follow his leading. I loved that that came up so early in the relationship, and I loved that Lauren and Joshua were mature enough to discuss the difficulties that came up rather than falling prey to constant misunderstandings or miscommunication.
Nicole Deese’s writing style was perfect for this book, and I eagerly look forward to reading another of her novels. The only place where I felt pulled out of the story came in the second half, when the story started spanning more time between chapters and Joshua kind of fell off the radar. I just loved seeing him and Lauren together. They were not perfect by any means, but they were perfect for each other. Joshua was such a caring, gentlemanly hero without seeming unrealistic, and I could relate to Lauren’s desires to do the right thing but confusion over what that was. There was so much emphasis in this book on God’s leading; I would have liked to see more scripture brought up in the characters’ lives, since that is our primary source of truth and it’s hard to discern God’s leading without it. At the same time, I appreciated seeing Lauren learn to listen to truth even when it came from people who didn’t agree with her. And her longing for her adopted child gave me a glimpse, however small, into God’s heart of love toward us—a beautiful theme to contemplate around Valentine’s Day.
Altogether, I really loved this story and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a contemporary friendship romance that will teach you a lot about the road to adoption and introduce you to characters who feel like friends.