Friday, April 12, 2013

My take on: And Then I Found You

On paper, Kate "Katie" Vaughn has the perfect life. A loving family, a loving boyfriend, and a successful business. She should be happy. She wants to be happy, but something is missing in her life. Actually someone is missing in her life. A very painful, but loving, decision has always nagged at Kate. If she can find a way to move on, maybe she can find true happiness. In a novel inspired by her own family, Patti Callahan Henry explores love, loss, courage, and family.

Since she could remember, Kate has always been in love with Jack Adams. With him she was Katie. With him she knew she was loved. With him she knew they had a future, if only he could just wait for her. Wait? Wait for what? After college, Katie knew she wanted to be with Jack. But Katie wasn't quite sure who she was as a person. What was her purpose in life? Could she be doing more? A job as a camp counselor for at-risk young girls proved worthwhile for Katie. She become attached to these girls. The only problem with this new career, it was in Arizona several states away from Jack in Alabama. What was supposed to be a short-term gig, became a long-term one. Every year there was another excuse for Katie not to begin her life with Jack. Were those girls really more important than him? Or does Katie believe Jack will wait for her. Their love should be strong enough to survive a long-term separation?

How long can she keep stringing Jack along? How long before he wants more out of life? I was truly in their corner. They seemed to belong together. But sometimes things don't work out the way they should. Sometimes you have to go through strife before you can find true happiness. That's the case for Katie and Jack. Years of waiting proved to be too frustrating for Jack, and he marries someone else. But not before one final goodbye with Katie, resulting in a pregnancy. What do they do now? Will a baby bring them together? Maybe now Jack will realize how much he misses Katie and want to raise this baby. It would be so nice if life worked out so easily. Katie makes the painful but selfless and loving decision to give the baby up for adoption. Loving a child and being able to care for a child are two separate things. Katie realizes that. As much as Katie wanted to keep her baby, a little girl she named "Luna," love alone wasn't enough. Her parents think Katie is giving away her baby. It's hard for them to understand. Katie knows she is giving her daughter the best gift possible -- parents who are ready to provide a loving home.

Thirteen years pass, everyone has moved on in the best way they can. Katie is now Kate. She owns and runs a clothing store, and has a loving boyfriend Rowan. The name "Katie" is part of a past she would like to forget. Jack is now a divorced, single father. And...somewhere out there their daughter, whose name is Emily Luna Jackson, wonders where she came from. They should be happy. But for all three of them, there is something missing from their lives. Kate is afraid to fully open herself up to Rowan. She can't tell him everything. She can't tell him about "Luna." Telling him would just open up old wounds. She constantly yearns for someone who is no longer hers -- Luna. But maybe she should deal with those old wounds. For Jack, the past is in the past. His heart has healed, going backwards could only make things worse. Emily knows she has loving parents, but she often wonders if her birth parents ever really loved her.

Of course, you know that's not all there is to the story. Otherwise...what would be the point of the book. In this age of social media, it's not all that hard to find someone. A Facebook request by Emily to one of Kate's sisters sets off a chain reaction of events. It's euphoria at first. Finding someone you thought was lost to you forever is sheer euphoria. But what are the consequences? What happens once the honeymoon stage is over? Nothing is ever the same. Now that Emily and Jack are back in her life, there is a renewed sense of happiness for Kate. But why couldn't she be happy before? Is Rowan not enough?

This is my second go-round with Patti Callahan Henry. I loved Coming Up For Air, so of course I wanted to take part in a review for And Then I Found You. I'm sure it couldn't have been easy for Patti Callahan Henry to write this book. Her younger sister also gave up her daughter for adoption, who later found her biological family via Facebook. This latest book is a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Yes it feels a bit like a love story, but that's more of a backdrop. You start questioning what makes a family? Emily might be ready to know where she came from, but what about her parents? Maybe Kate would have been better off ignoring Emily's friend request. On the one hand, it's great that Kate and Jack are reunited with their daughter. But on the other hand, is it really in their best interests to be reunited? What if Kate and Jack want more than Emily or her parents are willing to give? What happens if someone oversteps their bounds?

Overall, the book is dealing with very heavy subject matter. But Patti Callahan Henry handles it with a lot of grace and dignity. Definitely worth reading.

Rating: O.M.G.!!

Notes: I received a copy of the book at the request of Wunderkind PR. And I Found You is also the April selection for She Reads. I received a copy of the book from the publisher (St. Martin's Press)

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