Heartwarming. That's the way I have described every book by Marie
Ferrarella that I have read. In the Family Way engenders in me
the same warm, fuzzy feeling that I have come to expect from her
Dana Morrow has returned home to the small California town where she
grew up to try to put her life back together. She has lots to worry
about: a five year old niece who was orphaned in a car accident six
months earlier; an estranged father who has suffered a stroke and has
Parkinson's disease; and an unexpected and unwelcome pregnancy.
The last thing Dana wants or needs is a new relationship. She doesn't
trust her judgment. Steven, the man she thought loved her, proved to be
a selfish and unfaithful SOB. And what man would want a woman pregnant
with another man's child?
Worried about her niece Mollie's listlessness, Dana makes an appointment
with Dr. Rafe Saldana, the town's most popular pediatrician. Mollie
falls in love with Dr. Rafe; Dana, prickly and defensive, is not so
impressed. However, when Mollie has an attack of croup and Dr. Rafe
demonstrates both his dedication and his kindness, Dana starts to
reevaluate her opinion.
Rafe had married and lost his childhood sweetheart. Since her death, he
has devoted himself to his profession, despite the fact that half the
women in town would just love to provide consolation. He has a friendly
relationship with a hospital researcher, but has avoided commitments.
When he finds himself attracted to a woman who is the antithesis of his
first love, he doesn't quite know what to make of it.
In addition to the romance, Ferrarella has provided a subplot centering
on Dana's reconciliation with her father. Paul Morrow is a famous
defense attorney who had devoted himself to his career and neglected his
wife and daughters. He had high expectations of his children, and
when they disappointed him (Dana by her rebellious behavior; Meghan by
marrying "beneath" her) he had cut them off. Now, facing his own
mortality, Morrow has to deal with the fact that Dana has come home to
attempt a reconciliation. Is he indeed able to change, to admit that he
needs people and not just power and position?
The romance between Dana and Rafe follows a predictable but enjoyable
path. Yes, there is a strong physical attraction, but there is also an
underlying respect and admiration. And, of course, there is the problem
of the pregnancy. But Rafe's character makes his ultimate response
completely believable. Nobody does gamma heroes better than Ferrarella,
in my opinion.
So, if you are looking for a pleasant contemporary romance that will
warm the cockles of your heart, you just might want to pick up In the