FIRST TIME FOREVER by Cara Colter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book passed my good book test. I loved the characters, I was involved, and I enjoyed the storyline, and it made me feel good and optimistic when I finished the book. Not all books have to have a feel good quotient, but it's certainly nice when they do.
Evan and Kathy were both struggling to do right by the boys they were raising: Evan was a single father with a three-year-old son, and a big farm to run. Kathy was raising her orphaned nephew.
Evan used to be a wild child, raising you know what, and living life in the fast lane. When he got his girlfriend pregnant, he did the right thing, and married her. But she didn't want the settled life of a wife to a farmer, and a mother. She ran off with Jesse and broke Evan's heart. He finally got his son back, and he's determined to do the right thing by him. But, he's still insecure that he's not a good man or role model for his son.
Kathy decided that small-town life would be better for Mac, because he was getting to be at the age where trouble was calling his name. She was thirty-four and still a virgin, and thought her chances at love has passed her by. In fact, she didn't even date. Evan is too gorgeous to ignore, and he has an adorable young son. Could this man be the answer to her dreams, able to be husband to her, and father to her nephew, who badly needs a male influence?
This couple met when Mac vandalized Evan's truck. Evan recognizes the plea for help in Mac's actions, and sentences him to two weeks shoveling manure on his farm. It turns out to be a really good decision on his part, helping to bring these two people and their sons together to form a family. The kids are pretty cute: Jesse and Mac hit it off and become honorary brothers. It was nice to see Mac's sullen teen angst get melted by an adorable kid. Mac's vulnerabilities were realistic in light of losing his mother, and his father rejecting him before he was even born. He feared that Kathy didn't truly love him but saw him as an obligation, and he acted out because of it. Evan did a great job of setting boundaries with Mac, and showing him that parental love is often in the form of loving discipline, an area that Kathy had trouble. Working on the farm gives Mac something to focus on other than his sense of inadequacy and his fears.
This was a really nice, sweet story. It's probably too sweet for some readers. Things wrap up in a nice bow at the end, and that's a-ok with me. Since life isn't really like that, it's nice to read books where that happens.
Kathy and Evan are a good match. They have passion and understanding, and can work past their disputes and uncertainties to keep their marriage going. I like that their love encompassed their children, proving that there is infinite room in a person's heart for people to love. They are two people I can see happily married fifty years from now. It was great spending a couple hours with them and reading about their romance.
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