by Cathy Marie Hake
Amy Wilkins isn't interested in making her four sons the subjects of a research project. But when an identity mix-up at school deeply upsets her sons, Amy knows her family must participate in Dr. Todd Avery's research project. She sacrifices her jealously-guarded privacy and all her waking hours as a child psychologist invades her family's home and lives for three months.
For Todd, finding a family with two sets of identical twins to study is like striking it rich. Best of all is their mother, whose commitment to her sons and Christian faith touches him at the very core of his soul.
Could it be God has rewarded a mother's personal sacrifice by providing a man to love her and her sons?
This is the story of widow Amy Wilkins and her two sets of identical twin boys. Amy was married to Joseph an abusive alcoholic truck driving husband. After the birth of her first set of twins and upon realizing that she was pregnant again, (Joseph viewing the twins as a sign of his virility, but not ones to love and nurture) she leaves him and moves into a women's shelter. They help her through the birth of the second set of twins and help her to get started when her husband is killed in a trucking accident. So we meet her now when the boys are in elementary school and is aproached by Dr. Todd Avery who is doing research with the university on twins and recognition. His hope is to help understand why parents can accurately identify identical twins in order to help others identify them as well. She is wary of the good doctor being a man and big. After a situation at school, Amy finally agrees to participate in the study and Dr. Todd begins monitoring the family and tracking data from the time they wake til the time the boys go to bed. As they spend the summer together Todd rededicates his life to God, as he is so moved by Amy and her faith. Amy is faced with many opportunities to talk to the psychologist about her past abuse, but refuses. She has trust issues, and rightly so. Fast forward! The boys ambush her on the stairs one day with water guns and she slips and falls and breaks her ankle and gives herself a concussion falling down the stairs. Dr. Todd comes to the rescue and while waiting for her in the ER he comes to understand her history since the social worker and nurses begin questioning him about Amy's injuries. DingDing!
As he begins to seriously persue her, and when he finally does pop the question. She says no, because she is afraid and had issues with intimacy in her marriage. So....he prays with her (once!!) and it's all better. They get married and live Happily Ever After.
I really wanted to like this book. I had some problems with it on several levels. I will say that for an inspirational romance there was a lot of flirting. I'm glad. Usually there is little or no acknowledgement of physical attraction and no passion. Being a christian I understand the conviction to show purity in relationships. However, showing a little flirting a little chemistry a kiss here and there isn't impure. (At least not in my opinion).
This is one of those Harlequinn type books and I find that usually I'm not as in love with those stories as longer books. It feels so rushed. I will say that Mrs. Hake did show the passage of time and didn't have her couple fall in love in a day and a half. It was pretty quick, over the summer and married in September. That's really quick for real life, but I'm more than willing to suspend reality. Since it was shorter, I felt like certain things that should have taken longer to overcome were quick. I mean he prays with her once and her fear is gone! Really! Then she has a moment of pause on her wedding night, and it's all better. I'd have felt better if they'd acknowledged that her road to recovery could be long, but that they'd get walk hand in hand through everything with the help of God. (or something)
I typically love Mrs. Hake's books. She usually has some great quirky characters and some fun, but I just didn't get that from this book. I mean you'd have thought that with 2 sets of twins under the age of 9 there would have been lots of opportunity for fun. But not really in this book. So that left me wanting.
I give it a 3.5 cuz it was ok, but not great. I kept hoping something, I don't know, "more" was going to happen and it just didn't. I feel like Randy Jackson from American Idol, "It was just ok for me, Dawg!"