Her Very Own Family
by Trish Milburn
(Harl. American #1260, $4.99, G) ISBN 0373-75264-4
Her Very Own Family is a heart-warming sophomore effort by newcomer Trish Milburn.  There is depth in this category novel and there is romance.  What more can a reader ask for?

Audrey York wants to start over where no one knows her name. She is the daughter of a televangelist who was convicted of fraud and embezzlement. Audrey was part of the ministry but had been completely cleared of any wrongdoing. Audrey spent time in the trenches – building houses, overseeing projects and actually working in the shelters. Her mother lived in Denver and was convinced by some unscrupulous advisers that she deserved to share some of the wealth from their fundraising. This got her in trouble. It has been about a year since the scandal broke and Audrey lost her job, her friends and her peace of mind. Having lost her father to death years ago, she left her mother and feels as if she has now lost all of her family, too.

As the story opens, she has moved to Willow Glen, Tennessee and wants to renovate an old mill into a restaurant. There is lots of work to be done and Audrey doesn’t have much money, but with her experience in building houses, she figures she can do much of the work herself. She runs into an older gentleman in the grocery store who looks lost and forlorn standing in front of the pie fillings. She helps him and discovers he is a widower who just lost his wife of more than 40 years. She befriends Nelson Witt and he decides to help her on her project. Nelson owns a construction company and is semi-retired.

Brady Witt is worried about his father. He is a partner in his father’s business and is currently opening up another office in a town not far away with his best friend and long-time partner. The last time Brady saw his dad, he seemed depressed.  He takes some time off from his job to come home to spend some time with his dad, only to find Nelson not at home. Brady is worried that this new woman in town is trying to take advantage of his dad for his money. That is a sore subject with Brady since he was almost taken for a ride by a woman who swore she loved him until he discovered she had a boyfriend and the two just wanted his money.

What he finds, however, is not a money hungry, middle-aged woman, but a long-legged, beautiful young blond who sets his heart racing. More leery than ever, Brady starts helping renovate the mill with the excuse to spend time with his dad. But he soon finds himself wanting to spend time with Audrey and not just to help with her project.

This is a story about two people who have to learn to trust. Audrey is worried that once Brady and Nelson learn who she is, they will abandon her just like her old friends did. She is also worried that the scandal will somehow hurt them. Audrey has to learn to deal with her feelings about her mother if she really hopes to move on to a future. She gets that opportunity when she inadvertently discovers that her mom has cancer.

Brady, on the other hand, wants what his parents had and is worried he won’t find the right woman. His one adventure of falling in love left him tarnished and his concerned that Audrey is taking him for a ride is always in the back of his mind. After all, he didn’t find out about the other woman until it was almost too late.

Her Very Own Family explores the relationship building between two adults who are looking for love and hoping that they can find it with someone that will be worthy.  Brady and Audrey are fine characters who have to deal with their individual demons but once they do, they have the capacity to work on a relationship together. That combination is a good one for a romance category and sets this tale apart from many others. Don’t hesitate to pick it up and enjoy. 

--Shirley Lyons

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