Ellen Bishop – The Family You Choose


Author: Ellen Bishop
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: M/M Contemporary
ISBN 13:   9781610404303

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary:  It’s been nearly a year since Henry Graham’s brother and wife passed away and he took custody of their daughter, Brenna. He never thought he’d be a parent, much less to a grieving eight year-old girl, and Brenna proves to be almost more than he can handle. Her willful personality and stubborn temper drive away nannies almost faster than he can hire them, and Henry’s nearly at his wit’s end. When the most recent nanny shows up for the job, Henry is as equally appalled by the fact that it’s a man as he is by the tattoos up and down his arms. Before either of them know it, Michael Anders is filling gaps in their lives that they didn’t know they had, and no matter how unprofessional it is, he can’t deny the attraction he feels for his nanny. 

Review: This is one of those short stories that is great the length it is and yet I can’t help wishing for more.  Henry has custody of his niece, Brenna, for nearly a year, since her parents died in a car accident.  Henry is business driven, gay and completely unprepared to be a father.  Or so he believes.  He has been  “throwing more strange people at her and pitching her at therapists” and feels things are worse, not better.  He is convinced her terrible tantrums, awful moods and ability to scare off every nanny is his fault.  Enter Michael, a literature student who is well up to the challenge of Brenna.

Henry is so vulnerable and doesn’t realize it.  Not only did he also lose family, but he’s in a role he was ill-equipped for and is really trying his best.   I liked him a lot, conflicted soul.

Despite the serious topic, it isn’t an angsty read.  More of the moving to acceptance part of grieving.  Simple and a beginning.

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