Review: Family of Convenience by Victoria W. Austin


May Contain Spoilers

I really, really enjoyed this book.  Millie, homeless and pregnant, agrees to a marriage of convenience with Adam, a widower with two young children.  Both Adam and Millie had unpleasant first marriages, so Adam stresses that theirs will be only a marriage for the sake of the children, both his and Millie’s unborn baby.  Adam had already had his heart ripped to shreds, and he doesn’t want to go through that again.  Millie has never had an easy life, and she is terrified of being penniless and homeless, and so for her baby’s sake, she agrees to Adam’s proposal.

Poor Millie.  Here is a woman who trusts nothing.  She trusts no one, and she only expects the worst out of life.  To say that Millie is a glass is half empty kind of girl is to understate her negative frame of mind, and to the reader, her outlook on life is completely understandable.  Her husband, a shop keeper, lied about their finances, and when he died, she was left with nothing.  Again.  Raised in an orphanage, she is used to having nothing, but she doesn’t want that for her baby.  When she moves to Adam’s farm, at first she is dismayed that it is so far from town. She has only ever lived in a large city, and being that far away from civilization is a frightening to her (let’s be honest, everything is frightening to this overstressed woman!).  When she is shown her bedroom, the first room that she’s ever had that is really her own, she thinks that maybe things won’t be so bad.

Adam’s children charm her, and soon Millie settles into the new pattern of her life as the wife of a farmer. She enjoys caring for her new family, cooking, baking, and cleaning her new home.  But then her doubts and fears for the future start creeping in.  Millie keeps a notebook and every day she writes a list of tasks to accomplish, as well as her lists of fears.  What will happen if the crops die and there is no harvest? What will happen to her and the baby if things with Adam don’t work out? How will she support herself if she is homeless again? What if Adam has problems managing money like her first husband?

Millie’s fears keep getting in the way of her happiness, but the past is a hard thing to let go of. Adam is offended when Millie seems obsessed with money and their savings, but he is able to put her fears into perspective.  Adam was a wonderful, caring hero who possessed the patience of an angel. Seriously.  All he wanted was a woman to care for his children, and he was determined not to develop feelings for Millie, but as they get to know each other, day in and day out, and he sees how kind she is, he starts to hope for something more.  But her fears keep derailing any progress they make, leaving him hurt and just as determined to keep their relationship distant.

Millie learns that when the worst does happen, it isn’t anything she could have predicted, and that the only thing that matters is the love of family and friends. As long as she has that, she will be able to overcome all obstacles.  The relationship between Adam and Millie grew convincingly, and I am convinced that they will enjoy their HEA.  Recommended.

Grade: 4.75 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book

Mail-Order Mother
Recently widowed and pregnant, Millie Steele needs a husband to help provide for her unborn child, and becoming a mail-order bride is her only option. Thankfully, her new husband, Kansas farmer Adam Beale, only wants a mother for his two young children–not romance. Everything is going according to plan…until Millie begins to fall for Adam.
Adam had reservations about wedding another city dweller–his late wife never took to life on the prairie. But now he can’t imagine his family being complete without Millie and her unborn baby. Though they agreed to a strictly platonic partnership, can real love be blooming in Adam and Millie’s marriage of convenience?