Review: J.P. Barnaby – Sophie (Survivor Stories #5)

51mG9hIfJtLAuthor: J.P. Barnaby
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Summary:

It’s amazing how a single word from a tiny girl can change your life.

Spencer Thomas’s world turns upside down when his beloved Nell dies and leaves custody of her three-year-old daughter to him. Her “Spenna” comes when Sophie needs him most, but his boyfriend, Aaron, can’t be a parent. He just can’t. Neither of them expected a baby to fall into the lives they’d finally just settled.

When Nell’s ex comes to claim Sophie, Aaron needs to make a decision: man up or walk away as Spencer faces the fight of his life.

Review:

What a beautiful story! And what a fitting way for J.P. Barnaby to retire and bring closure for Aaron and Spencer along with her.

Sophie is Spencer’s niece, a toddler who unexpectedly becomes Spencer’s—and Aaron’s—responsibility when her mother dies suddenly. Spencer is her only living relative and is named as Sophie’s guardian in Nell’s will. But Aaron doesn’t want children—who knows what a crazy like him would do with a child? Or worse yet, what he’d do if anything happened to that child. At least, that’s his take on it, and it’s the core of what makes his relationship with Spencer suddenly uncomfortable.

But Aaron isn’t the same man he was when we first met him years ago when we learned his story in Aaron. He and Spencer have weathered many storms, and he’s got a much better relationship with his parents and Spencer’s father, the psychiatrist who finally got through to him. His relationship with his brother, Anthony, has improved as well, and whether he realized it at the time or not, he’s learned how to love and has become willing to trust Spencer with his heart. This story is all about family—and not just the outward appearance of family—more about the depth of caring about another person, the willingness to trust in one’s partner, and to be there for them, in all ways.

Without realizing it, Aaron begins to see Sophie as his, and not just as the toddler Spencer brought home to live with them. I have to admit, she’s pretty hard to resist with her cries for “Spenna” and her grief over losing “Mama.” It damn well brought me to tears. The real tears came at the finale when Aaron and Spencer fully committed to each other and began a new chapter in their lives, just as their author began hers.

I would recommend this to anyone who has read the series to date, and though it could be a standalone, I don’t believe someone would truly enjoy it without having read the balance of the series. Highly recommended.

One last word on this book—take the time to read the Author’s Note and the Acknowledgments. They are insightful, emotional, hopeful, and inspiring.

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