Monday, June 3, 2013

A Walk Down the Aisle - Holly Jacobs (HS #1858 - June 2013)

Series: A Valley Ridge Wedding (Book 3)

Speak now...or forever keep your secrets?

Colton McCray's an "I do" away from the perfect life. He's got a prosperous farm and he's lucky enough to have fallen in love with a good woman like Sophie Johnston. What more could a man who loves the simple life want?

Certainly not a teenage wedding-crasher who's Sophie's biological daughter and only one of Sophie's secrets!

Marry a woman he doesn't really know-or take a chance and trust her? No way! Though the harder Colton tries to cut Sophie out of his life, the more he wants her...complications and all. When he finds out she's pregnant with their baby, it's impossible for him to stay away. But first, he must forgive her past in order to rebuild the future they were meant for....

Wow - just wow.  This was one of the most emotional books I have ever read in this line.  Sophie is about to marry Colton when the wedding is crashed by a teenager who turns out to be Sophie's daughter.  Colton is stunned to find out that the woman he thought was his perfect mate has secrets that she never shared with him.  He calls off the wedding and tries to cut Sophie out of his life.  Meanwhile Sophie is trying to adjust to seeing the baby girl she was forced to give up and get to know her.  Just as she starts to build a relationship with Tori she discovers she's pregnant with Colton's baby.

There was so much going on in this book.  Sophie never expected to see the child she gave up when she was a teenager.  Her parents were very status and appearance conscious and having a pregnant daughter didn't fit in with their expectations.  They sent her away until the baby was born and refused to allow her to keep it.  She wasn't even allowed to hold her before she was taken away.  The only control she had was being able to pick the couple that would raise her.  As soon as she graduated she left home and cut her parents out of her life.  She never forgot the baby she gave up, but was so traumatized that she couldn't talk about it at all, even to Colton.  When Tori showed up, Sophie was thrilled to be able to get to know her.  I loved the way that Sophie made it clear to Tori that while she was Tori's biological mother, her parents were still her parents.  I loved Tori's parents and how they made Sophie part of their family and worked with Sophie to give Tori what she needed.  Sophie was devastated by Colton's withdrawal and the way that he refused to even talk about it with her.  It reinforced her feeling that there was no one that could offer her the unconditional love that she needed.  When she discovered she was pregnant Colton wanted to marry her because of it.  She refused him on the grounds that she wasn't going to go into a marriage that was only out of obligation.  She wouldn't keep him from the baby but she refused to risk her heart again on someone she couldn't trust to stand by her no matter what happened.  I loved the growing relationship between Sophie and Tori.  I also loved the way that Tori's parents were so supportive of Sophie and how they included her in what they were doing with Tori from then on.  When it came to her relationship with Colton, I completely understood Sophie's attitude.  She had wanted support and he abandoned her when she needed him most.  She was very adamant at the beginning that they break things off completely, but once she found out about the baby she had to make adjustments. She and Colton had to redefine their relationship and decide how to move forward.  Sophie knew she still loved him but she had to decide whether she could trust him.  Her growth from the woman who had been hiding from her past to the one who accepted it and embraced it was very intense.

Colton had been an interesting character from the beginning of the series.  He's not talkative but shows his love for Sophie in many small ways.  It's pretty obvious that he has a picture of Sophie in his head that has put her on a pedestal.  When Tori shows up it blasts away his image of the perfect Sophie and he doesn't know how to cope.  He sees it as showing that he never knew her at all and how could he trust someone that kept a secret like that.  He comes off as being very judgmental and inflexible.  He tries really hard to cut Sophie out of his life entirely but he can't do it.  When he finds out that she's pregnant he wants them to get married anyway and is surprised when she flat out refuses.  She accepts that they will have to stay connected for the baby's sake but he realizes he wants more.  Thanks to a couple of confrontations with Tori he starts to accept that he had been a jerk but he doesn't know how to fix what he had screwed up.  I liked him a lot better once he accepted that he'd been wrong.  I liked his persistence and the way that he tried to work himself back into Sophie's life.  I liked the way that he really began to understand Sophie's devastation when he found her reading the yearly letters from Tori's mom.  It took awhile but he was finally able to see things from her point of view and it made a big change in his attitude.  I loved the way that he showed Sophie just how much he cared.

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