Sometimes help comes from the most unlikely places …
Living in a small village like Hibberton, it’s expected that your neighbors help you in a time of need. But when Andrea Kelly’s house burns down, taking all her earthly possessions with it, it’s the distant and aloof Doctor David Adams – the person she would least expect – who opens his door not just to her, but to her three kids and slightly dotty elderly mother as well.
Andrea needs all the help she can get, dealing with aftermath of the fire and in the suspicious absence of her husband, Jonathan. But, as she gets to know David and his troubled son, Jake, she begins to realize that maybe they need her help as much as she needs theirs
Read on for my thoughts on Learning To Love. No true spoilers, promise.
Learning To Love is a slice of life novel that the majority of us have experienced on some level. Life happens. Our children become strange creatures called teenagers. Our parents age and become, at times, people we do not know yet desperately still love. Our partners in love are aloof at best and untrustworthy at worst. And a wee toddler adds to the chaos of a life full to overflowing. Add to the mix a snappy little dog and a desire to change careers in order to make the chaos a bit more manageable and you have Andrea’s life in a nutshell.
In addition, she cannot help but be a bit concerned about the new neighbors across the way. While David Adams may be a sexy as sin doctor, the father seems unable to deal with his young son. Of course, Andrea doesn’t know all the details of their lives, but she’ll keep a watch for the child’s safety just the same.
When Andrea’s home burns to the ground, leaving all of her most precious people safe yet taking away absolutely everything else in her life – help comes from an odd source when David offers to put up her family until they can get the insurance sorted out and decide to rebuild or move. Needless to say, Andrea’s life has just taken a dive into the crapper – and where in the world is her supposed loving, soon to be husband in the midst of this tragedy? Gone missing it seems.
As two families are left to somehow mesh their lives together, at least temporarily, we get a better idea of the sadness and grief surrounding David and his son. Normally squabbling teens will grow up a bit and do their best to help in this trying and frightening situation – and a teenage boy will offer the help needed to a younger boy in pain and confusion. As their small community rallies around Andrea and her family, she must acknowledge a growing attraction for the doctor and a chilling suspicion about the man who was supposed to love her.
I’ve come to expect realistic characters from Sheryl Browne. Right now you could pick out any house on your block and this fictional family would fit right in without a hiccup. That is how effortlessly we slip into Andrea and David’s world – because we’ve all experienced a slice of their life at some point. Always trust your gut when in doubt about people or characters. We know instinctively who to mistrust without a harsh word being said, at first at least. That is the trait of a good storyteller, to direct us with emotions, a nudge in the direction they want us to go.. it’s up to us to follow or not.
Simply put, I loved Learning To Love. Andrea could be any one of us readers. In the world we live in today, it’s difficult to not be an Andrea. Yes, the romance between David and Andrea was fun, sexy and engaging – but it is the entire package of all the various personalities and situations that made this story come alive for me. This was one of those times that as I read the book I was looking into a mirror.
*I received an e-ARC of Learning To Love from the publisher, Choc Lit and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. That does not change what I think of this novel.*
Available for the Kindle