Book Review: They See a Family

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Chick flicks are my guilty pleasure. Despite the cheesiness and weaving in and out of realism, there is something enjoyable about seeing two people build a loving relationship. I love to read, but it is a lot more difficult to “fast-forward” through inappropriate scenes in a romance novel so I usually stay away from them altogether. That’s why I was so excited to read Amanda Hamm’s Catholic romance book, They See a Family.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

When tragedy leaves two babies in Kay Donovan’s care, she reaches out to her friend William for help. By the time she stumbles her way through the grief and day-to-day survival, William has become a significant part of their lives. Untangling the connection would be far more difficult for everyone than becoming a real family. But isn’t marrying someone because it’s convenient rather old-fashioned? Kay doesn’t think so. The problem is she’s in love with William, and that’s a little inconvenient when discussing marriage like a business deal.

William had been biding his time in the friend zone. All romantic hopes are put aside when Kay faces one trial after another. Until Kay suggests that their friendship might be enough to make them a family. He’d love to marry her, but can it work if she’s only trying to do what’s best for the kids?

The book seemed to have all the makings of a good romance novel: two long-time friends secretly in love, a tragic event that draws them together, and the uncertainty of whether or not they will end up together.

In many ways, the book delivered. It was a heartwarming story with a good balance between emotion and plot-building. As a reader, I found it difficult to put the book down; to give you some perspective, I was sitting in a mall food court three days before Christmas (aka an insanely busy location) reading this book and found myself so tuned into the book that I almost lost track of time. The Catholic aspects flowed into the book naturally; it didn’t feel forced. There were also some delightful side characters; my favorite was Annie.

Praises aside, there were some things I didn’t enjoy about the book. I am the same age as Kay (the protagonist), but the way it was written didn’t sound like my internal dialogue or the discussions I have with my peers; it felt like someone older was saying it. Though some leeway can be given as a narrator and not Kay was sharing the story and Kay had just experienced a life-changing event, it still didn’t feel quite right. Additionally, I felt like in an attempt to make Kay more realistic by adding flaws, it was almost taken to such an extreme that the reader struggled to connect with her. I certainly still cared about her story and wanted a happy ending for her, but her awkwardness and distance she put between herself and others also carried over to me as a reader. My final criticism is some components of the story didn’t feel fleshed out. For example, there was a big build-up for Kay’s father visiting, but we never learned how it went. Another example is how the book resolved. Though we certainly got an answer, it felt like there should’ve been more content to get to that point; we know what happened, but as a reader, I was left wondering precisely how we got there.

All things considered, I liked the book, but it wasn’t my favorite read. It had some majorly cute moments, kept my attention, and was a totally appropriate romance. Though there were some missing details and questionable protagonist, it was still a quick, pleasant read.


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