It was the surprise of a lifetime for recluse Molly McCreight when single dad Ethan Hunter entrusted her with his infant daughter while he delivered medicine to an elderly man during an ice storm. Past experience had taught Molly how fragile life could be, but she was touched by this stranger's faith in her abilities. Once the storm had passed, though, and her guests returned home, normalcy eluded Molly. The Hunters' presence had brought much-needed joy to her quiet world, but their absence threatened to crush her forever. Still, was she ready to admit that this tiny family held the key to the future she'd always secretly craved?
I actually adored this book. It had two of my favourite plot contrivances - snowbound and single fathers! I really like the idea of two people thrown together under unusual circumstances building a relationship out of being in such close contact with each other. It's idealistic, and I've no idea if it really does work out so wonderfully for people in real life, but it's definitely been the basis of some of my favourite romance novels, including Montana Man by Barbara Delinsky. Linda Goodnight's take on this plot was excellent, and had the added bonus of featuring an adorable baby! Ethan was the perfect beta hero - caring, sensitive, a committed father, and so much more. I'm definitely becoming a fan of the way Love Inspired characterise their heroes.
While Molly and Ethan build up their friendship when stuck in the farmhouse during the snowstorm, it's when they're back in the real world that their relationship really begins. Molly, who had hidden away after witnessing a horrific tragedy, finds herself forced to integrate back into society and it becomes impossible for her to avoid Ethan, and her growing attraction to him. I'm definitely a fan of slow-paced romances where the characters gently get to know each other, rather than the ones that zoom by, full of problems and "Big Misunderstandings". There was never a moment when I felt that Molly and Ethan's relationship was unrealistic.
I loved that both Molly and Ethan had histories and troubled pasts to deal with. Ethan's was more conventional, but I was really impressed with the way that Molly's trauma was dealt with. She was such an unusual yet truly endearing heroine. I guessed quite early on what had happened to her, but her road to healing was wonderful to read.
My only complaint would have to be that some of the references that Molly and Ethan made to God and Christianity felt a little bit forced. I do like my characters to turn to God when they're in need, but occasionally Love Inspired books put it across in a slightly unrealistic manner. I'm also not entirely sure if I'm completely happy with the ending. While I do love my books to have happy endings and be tied up in a nice, pretty bow, Molly's discussion with her sister felt a bit too perfect.
I'll have to give this a 9/10 as there are just a couple of things that I'm unsure about. Other than that, this was a lovely little romance that cheered me up in between a more challenging book and coursework. I'll definitely be looking for more Love Inspired books from this author.