The Baby Quilt

Finally His Bride

From House Calls to Husband

The Home Love Built

Suddenly Family by Christine Flynn
(Silh. Sp. Ed #1504, $4.75, PG) ISBN 0-373-24504-1
Widower Sam Edwards has his hands full raising his two children and running his flight business on a small island in Puget Sound. Despite his mother's instance that he needs a new wife, Sam knows he just needs a babysitter.

One day T.J. Walker, a well-known but reclusive local, comes in and asks if he can teach her to fly. T.J. is also a single mother, raising her young son Andy after the man who impregnated her ran off.

T.J. has abandonment issues, having experienced that early in life traveling from one hippie commune to another with her eccentric "mother" Crystal and then again when the man who supposedly loved her ran off. About the only constant companions she's ever had were the woods and animals. In fact, it's those animals that bring her to Sam in the first place. The local veterinarian is leaving town and she needs to learn to fly so she can transport the ones too sick for her to care for to the mainland. When she learns there is a lot more to learning to fly than she thought, she agrees to trade flights for childcare.

Of course T.J. is the perfect mother. She's never impatient, knows just how to calm an angry child and makes a happy fun home for her son despite their relative poverty. It's obvious from the beginning she is perfect for Sam. As for Sam, he's a devoted dad, and a nice guy. It isn't long before they start falling for each other, but can they get passed the large amount of emotional baggage the author has packed for them?

Such is the plot of Suddenly Family. T.J. and Sam learn to trust each other and gradually realize they need one another. It's not a bad story, but it's not very exciting. We get to see T.J. wrapping her arms protectively around herself and withdrawing a lot. We get to see Sam trying to break through that shell but then get freaked out by the idea that he might actually be falling in love. We get to see three really cute kids that get along with each other and take to a prospective new caretaker surprisingly well.

The fact that T.J. dips her toy into the annoying heroine pool once too often doesn't help. The whole earthy crunchy momma business gets irritating after a while. She doesn't wear makeup, wears baggy overalls yet of course she is gorgeous and Sam can't stop looking at her "firm, small breasts". Enough with the firm, small breasts, how many times do we need to know that T.J. doesn't wear a bra to support those firm, small breasts and frankly, how firm can they be if she's had a child?

Also, we're told how T.J. doesn't have a lot of money for extras; she makes pottery and does some little part-time jobs around town to make money. Yet she seems to think nothing of how expensive it must be to buy food and make shelter for all her little orphan animals. Not to mention that in reality she is watching and feeding Sam's children for nothing. The whole flying issue makes you wonder just how smart she really is. Did she really think she could learn to fly a plane, without ground school, in a couple weeks?

There is one small conflict subplot involving Brad, Andy's biological father. It looms over T.J. and Sam's relationship throughout the whole book but is resolved neatly, a bit too neatly, in a few pages. Still, Sam and T.J.'s relationship evolves naturally, first through their mutual interest as parents, then as friends.

Suddenly Family is your basic three-heart romance. Conflicts are quickly resolved and the storyline is fine, but ultimately nothing special.


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