A Child Changes Everything
by Stella MacLean
(Harl. Super #1655, $5.50, PG)  ISBN 978-0373-71655-5
Lisa Clarke grew up as an adopted child, never knowing who her real parents were.  Her parents had instilled in her a sense that she was loved but also threw in a lot of insecurities.  If she made a mistake, she was basically told she should never take any more chances.  One time, she was babysitting and the child had a seizure when Lisa was on the phone with a friend.  The child recovered, but Lisa became convinced that she could never be a mother nor care well for children.   To overcome that fear, she became a nurse and even transferred into pediatrics to prove to herself she could handle a child.

Lisa’s mother has finally passed away and she left Lisa a letter, telling her who her real birth mother is.  Lisa travels to Florida and finds her.  It turns out that the birth parents had been in an auto accident, killing the father.  The mother was pregnant with Lisa and was worried she would not be able to care for a second child.  She kept her older daughter, Ann Marie, and gave Lisa up for adoption.  Now Lisa discovers she has a mother, a sister and a three-year-old niece.  Her mother is in a nursing home and needs care.  Her sister was just arrested and is in jail due to some lies told by a man she had hooked up with and her niece needs Lisa to care for her.

Lisa takes on this new challenge with the help of an old boyfriend, Mason Stephens.  Mason and Lisa had dated in high school and Lisa always assumed they would marry.  But eighteen-year-old Mason got scared and played around on Lisa.  The girl got pregnant and they ended up marrying.  Mason is now a single dad with a lovely son.  His ex is still in the picture and in fact, may move to the West Coast, leaving Mason torn between his business and his son.

There were too many coincidences and too much sentiment.  First we are treated to an emotional Lisa over the death of her mother.  Then she is stunned by seeing her old boyfriend and finding out he is a private investigator that has been hired to find her birth mother.  Lisa has never forgiven Mason and Mason has never really gotten over his feelings for Lisa.

Lisa goes to Florida and lo and behold, she now has a new mother.  Carolyn Lewis is a lovely older woman who is thrilled to finally meet her daughter.  She has kept tabs on Lisa, even going to the same beach one summer and introducing the two “sisters” to each other without their knowledge.  Lisa is heartbroken to discover her sister is in trouble and despite her misgivings, agrees to take on her niece.

This all was just too much.  Lisa and Mason were also very wishy-washy, often vacillating over decisions, which created obstacles in their rediscovery process.  Just when it looked like all would be well, one of them would start thinking and acting uncertain, which created conflict and we were back to square one.  At several points, I just wanted to shout, “make a choice and stick with it, will you?”

It is often common for romance heroines to over-think things, but when coupled with the unrealistic situations and emotional scenes, I just could not buy the angst or the results. 

A Child Changes Everything started off strong but slowly faded into a mediocre and often unbelievable story.  I suggest that you pass it by.       

--Shirley Lyons

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