Author: Marie Sexton
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Amazon: Fear, Hope, and Bread Pudding
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novella/140 PDF pages
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
Review Summary: At last Cole and Jon become a family.
Sequel to Strawberries for Dessert Part of the Coda Series
Families should grow, not shrink. It’s been on Jon Kechter’s mind since before he tied the knot with his millionaire lover, Cole Fenton. Now hoping to adopt, Jon and Cole search for a mother-to-be willing to let them love her baby, but the interminable wait is wearing on them both.
Jon is close to his father, George, but until Cole, he didn’t have anyone else. Now George is pushing Cole to reconcile with his estranged mother. When the three of them spend Christmas with her in Munich, the results are disastrous. Jon and Cole resolve to stay positive, but no hope exists without a tinge of fear. Jon and Cole can’t help but wonder if their dream of being parents just wasn’t meant to be.
In August 2010 I reviewed Strawberries for Dessert which I think is the best book in the Coda series. I absolutely adored Cole and wanted him to have his HEA very badly because I thought he really deserved it. When I opened Fear, Hope and Bread Pudding I didn’t know what to expect and I had some trepidation about the author’s decision to write another story about Cole and Jon and the direction of the story. I didn’t want Cole to change into someone I didn’t recognize because of this new dimension in his and Jon’s relationship – adoption of a baby – and of course their parents being more present in their lives.
When the story opened Cole and Jon had settled into their new life together, although they’re still flying all over the world. However, there was something missing, at least where Cole was concerned. He desperately wanted a child. After telling Jon about his wish to be a parent, they hired a lawyer; they realized that this would be a long road ahead because of their sexual orientation and the barriers they would face in trying to adopt. Months passed with no word from the lawyer so they continued to travel exhaustively (sometimes with George, Jon’s father who was now retired) to get away from their house in Phoenix which had too many memories. A year went by and still no baby; Cole was getting frantic and desperate as Jon tried his best to distract and comfort him. As usual Cole shared his feelings with Jared to whom he wrote all the time in Strawberries, and this one poignant sentence in an email he sent to Jared struck me as it showed how much he was hurting
“I have so much to give Jared. Not only money or things, but love. I have so much love in my heart but not enough people to share it with”.
At Christmas George decided that they should invite Grace, Cole’s mother to stay with them and although Cole disagreed, he acquiesced. When she arrived things didn’t go quite as George planned as there was a lot of hurt feelings, friction and resentment on both Cole’s and his mother’s part and Christmas was a nightmare, with lots of havoc and disharmony.. But before things got off the rails entirely, Cole and Jon received a welcome call from their lawyer about an adoption possibility so they left Grace and George to their own devices in Cole’s condo in Germany and returned to Phoenix.
I must admit I had mixed feelings about this book, probably because I was hoping that this time the story would be told from Cole’s POV although I do appreciate that for consistency it was probably a good strategy to continue with Jon as the narrator. I liked Jon in Strawberries for Dessert although initially I thought he was staid, had a poker in his back, was not very exciting and did not deserve Cole. However as the book progressed I changed my opinion of him and appreciated his character as a foil for Cole mainly because it was clear that after resisting the attraction for a long time he fell deeply in love with him.
Something that was noticeable to me in F H and B P was that Jon’s father George had an even bigger role in this book and in their lives, and I would have preferred more face time with Jon and Cole together and less with an ensemble cast of George and Grace whom I really didn’t care for very much. George even had his own POV at one point which contained flashbacks to his life with his deceased wife and Jon’s childhood. I guess the author felt there was a need to close all the threads left hanging in Strawberries by bringing Grace in as well to tell her side of the estrangement with Cole..
The writing was as usual excellent as were the characterizations. Cole was Cole, just a little more frenetic, and Jon was his usual caring self as he talked Cole down from off the ledge time and time again when it seemed that their dream of becoming parents would not come to fruition. As I said in my review of Strawberries, Cole was fragile, vulnerable and insecure, someone who could not believe that he was worthy of love. In this book he’s still fragile, insecure and vulnerable but he knows he’s loved by Jon who would give him the moon if he could. What I loved in this book was how close Jon and Cole became as they did everything they could to achieve their dream of becoming parents, and how Jon would do anything in his power to give Cole his heart’s desire. Their wish for a baby, while slightly different in its focus, converged: Cole wanted to be a parent above all else, while Jon wanted to make their family complete, and through all the stress of the adoption process their love for each other shone which helped to make their dearest wish a reality.
To summarize: This is a well written finale to Cole’s and Jon’s story, although I did think at times that there was a lot going on for such a short book. Also, I can’t say enough about the baby’s mother, Taylor, whose characterization was outstanding. If you love babies and stories about babies and adoption you will love this book because the delivery had all the drama you could ever want. Last, if you read and loved Strawberries for Dessert you shouldn’t miss Fear, Hope and Bread Pudding which is about hope in every sense of the word.