Title: The Family We’re Born With (Finding Family #1)
Author: Kaje Harper
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: December 14, 2013
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 69
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Jesse Calhoun met Devin Palmer five years ago, in front of a Christmas tree at a friend’s party. It was Jesse’s first holiday alone, away from home. Devin didn’t have much of a home to go back to. They found a way to make the season brighter, together.
Four years ago, Jesse brought Devin to his parents’ house and came out to them. It wasn’t all roses, but his family came around, and Devin has spent each holiday with the Calhouns since then. Jesse really loves sharing Christmas with his family, and sharing his family with Devin.
So he isn’t prepared to hear his mom say, “I don’t want Devin to come to the house for Christmas Eve this year.” Suddenly it’s not smooth sailing, keeping peace with the family he was born with.
Jesse Calhoun’s mom Gayle has reconnected with her first child – a son she gave up for adoption when she was 16. Sam, a Marine and a Texan, is coming to Minnesota for the holidays and thinking he might just be a homophobic redneck, Gayle has asked Devin, Jesse’s partner of 5 years, NOT to come to the Calhoun house on Christmas Eve.
For such a short story (just under 70 pages), Kaje Harper packs in a lot of emotion and family drama. Jesse and Devin’s relationship is beautifully told and we meet Sam and learn about his family dynamic, which has caused Sam’s younger brother, Clint, to run away from home. My only problem with the plot is Jesse’s mother Gayle uninviting Devin to Christmas Eve. I admire how Harper spends the time to show Gayle’s worry at meeting Sam, and how her husband supports her wishes. It is convenient as a plot device, but out of character for the family and needlessly hurtful to Devin. It just felt so wrong. But …. it’s a testimony to Harper’s writing skills that she makes you feel so deeply about her plot decisions!
The ending bringing all of the family closer together and sets up the second book in the series “The Family We Make” about Sam’s brother, as well as more about Jesse and Devin.
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