Searching for a safe haven and a new beginning.
Returning home for the holidays after an unexpected pregnancy, Clara Fisher needs a fresh start. And working as a housekeeper for Tucker Church and his teenage niece is the first step. Clara still has hard choices to make, but Tucker might be just the person to help her forget her fears. Could the path to her new future also lead to love?
Genre: Inspirational Romance
Format: Kindle ARC
No. of Pages: 224
Date of Publication: November 30, 2021
My Rating: 5 Stars
Home again and pregnant. Clara's life has turned upside down and she must now find a way to deal with unexpected circumstances. Feelings of sadness are overwhelming her, but Clara must face her situation and make difficult decisions going forward. Taking a job as housekeeper for Tucker Church has a whole new set of challenges. One of those factors is that Clara is completely underqualified for the position. Also, Tucker is temporary guardian to his teenage niece and this ultimately affects Clara and her new job.
As Tucker and Clara begin working together, tender feelings slowly begin to form. Meanwhile, Clara begins to know Tucker's niece Shay and some of the struggles the teen is facing. Even though her life is still upside down Clara soon proves invaluable to both Tucker and Shay.
What a wonderfully emotional story. I loved seeing the relationship between Clara and Tucker grow and I also enjoyed both Tucker and Clara's relationship with Shay who had her own passel of problems. Compassion, kindness and friendship all begin to blend together as those very emotions slowly turn in to love.
There were some hard hitting topics this sweet story dealt with - unplanned pregnancy, former foster child, a teen away from her parents, and more. This book by Brenda Minton did a fine job with all of these things, bringing this warm story to a wonderful conclusion.
Many thanks to Love Inspired and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
Please enjoy the following excerpt:
Excerpt, HER CHRISTMAS DILEMMA by Brenda Minton
“I’ll take the job,” she said, as if they’d been discussing the job.
“Have you hired someone?” She glanced at her watch. “In the past fifteen minutes?”
“No, I haven’t. I…” He didn’t know what to say. This woman had secrets. She had a brokenness that scared the daylights out of him.
But she made his niece smile. For that matter, she made him smile.
“If you’d rather find someone else, I understand. I’m obviously not experienced. I’ve already admitted that I can’t cook and I’m also only here temporarily, but I could fill the spot until you find someone more suitable.”
“What made you change your mind?” he asked, glad that his niece had wandered ahead to talk to a friend.
She shrugged a shoulder and glanced around. “A lot of reasons. Shay needs someone who understands what she’s going through. I do know how much it hurts to feel abandoned by the people who should care the most. Also, I feel the need to do more than sit by myself in Nan’s boat shop. Plus, Nan fired me this morning.”
“She fired you?” He couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Yeah, she did.” Her eyes briefly twinkled. “She said I’m in her way. She likes her solitary time. She doesn’t mind my help, but she doesn’t want me to become a fixture in her shop.”
“Shay is a challenge,” he warned.
If she worked for him, could he remain impartial, not getting involved, not caring what her story might be? He doubted it. But he had to do what Shay’s parents hadn’t done: he had to put his niece first. For some reason, he thought this woman might be the right thing for Shay. For the time being.
“I need a challenge.” She smiled.
“I get weekly calls from the school. I think she thinks if she’s bad enough, her parents will ride to the rescue. They won’t.”
“I’m sorry about that. Parents aren’t always what we need them to be. Sometimes they can’t be, sometimes they choose not to be.”
It made him angry to think about his sister and brother-in-law, the choices they’d made putting them first and Shay last. Could this woman put Shay first? “She needs people who will support her but not allow her to get away with the trouble she’s causing.”
“I can be that person,” she assured him with a subtle lift of her chin. “Give me a week. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll go back to boats.”
He grinned. “I guess we can give it a one-week trial. Can you be at the house tomorrow at six?”
“Second thoughts?” he asked.
“Only for a moment,” she admitted. Then they were next in line to get plates, so they spoke no more on the subject.
Tucker was generally an optimistic person, but he knew that letting Clara into his home—and his life—was going to bring an array of problems.
First and foremost, he liked her. He liked her a lot. And that was a big problem.