There are two things I didn't really care for in this series (and especially in THIS book) which reflect my personal interest, or rather disinterest in life - cats and kids. For me, kids are NOT relevant to romance novels. While it was beautiful seeing the way Deacon took Benny in, cared for her and her baby and the special bond they build together, if I was writing this book, she would have gotten an abortion and kept on living with Deacon after that, growing up a bit quicker because of the experience yet not becoming a mom at the age of 16.. I know that's highly unlikely considering the place they are living and the values they were taught.. but that's me.. I'm not into kids, I don't want any myself, and so when I'm reading romance I want to read about the forming of a relationship, not the sort of next step that doesn't interest me on a personal level. My dislike of cats is rather new.. Though I didn't mind cats not that long ago, the last few months taught me that I can't possibly live with one (or it's owner..). Reading about Jeff and Collin's lying cat on the kitchen table disgusted me so much I had to skip the whole section. Believe me I'm NOT one of those cleaning freaks who can't stand a little bit of fur around the house, when Eric drools on me I simply smear everything back at him hehe So it's not about that, it's about the total and absolute LACK of care, not to mention love (!) this animal has for the people who care for it which disgusts me. You know how people say that cats believe themselves to be gods to be waited upon? well, great for them, I'm not interested. When I come home feeling like sh*t my dogs are there for me, just like a human would just without speech, and naturally without the judgment.. cats are different, so so different, anyone saying differently is obviously bewitched by one and is NOT seeing the world around him/her clearly.. so yeah, NO cats, fictional or real ones. I won't harm a cat, I'll put a bowl of water outside on hot summer days, but I don't want any in my personal space (Kindle included).
Now that my total and absolute rant is over... I can actually write my review of this book..
First, the book is narrated by SO many! it really gave the story the sort of closure nothing else could.
Reading Benny's POV after everything she's been through with Deacon and the reason she wants to gift him and her brother was crucial. From the beginning, there was a close relationship between her and Deacon but I haven't realized how much she was close to falling fully and utterly in love with him. Yeah he was MUCH older, but I don't think anyone could NOT fall in love with Deacon no matter what his/her age is ;) Moving in with Andrew, even if it's in the confines of the Pulpit makes her realize she has to put him aside in order to be able to continue with her life. Truthfully, if Andrew didn't hero-worship Deacon I think he would have been dead jealous of him for what he has with his girl. I didn't feel enough connection between Benny and Andrew, I'm not sure why, maybe because I've already seen enough of Benny and Deacon in hard times to FEEL them in a way Andrew was never a part of. Sadly we don't get Andrew's POV but I guess he's there most of the time to give his intake of the decisions he and Benny made in favor of Deacon and Crick.
Another POV we never got before was Jon's. He only has one chapter and yet it was also crucial to understanding another relationship - his and Deacon's. As the synopsis reveals Jon and Amy are leaving Levee Oaks and so a 30 year old friendship is going to change in a way both of them aren't really ready for. I loved Jon and Amy as side character, really enjoyed the way both of them together and alone affected "Deacon's formed family". Jon and Deacon are so very different yet every conversation between the two their love for one another was evident.
The other POVs were of the couples from the previous books. Naturally Crick and Deacon who are going through a difficult decision. It's not written clearly in the synopsis and yet it's not hard to guess, Benny is offering to gift her brother and Deacon a baby. Though Deacon wants a baby, especially one from Benny (through it one from Crick) SO very badly, it's hard for him to accept this gift and so both Benny and Crick do their best to convince him. It was heart breaking. Deacon NEVER asks for things for himself and all the people around him just wants what's best for him and yet it's so hard for him to accept this kindness. We get also Shane and Mikhail's POV, I MISSED these two, though they are there in the 3rd installment, getting Mikhail's POV especially was SO MUCH FUN! I love him, love his humor and the way he sees things and the way he expresses himself. I almost literally ROFL when I read him. Shane is such a big sweetheart and so they are perfect together. Shane truly does amazing job in "Promise House" with the teenagers, there's a mini plot concerning two new residents - Missy (Crick and Benny's youngest sister) as well as Sweetie, a runaway who forms a connection with Martin (Kevin's brother, the one we met in the previous installment when he comes to confront Jeff for his relationship with his brother). Last but not least, we have more of Jeff and Collin. There is something so bold about writing about a couple both having HIV and the way they are dealing with it, on their own and together. I love them both and how much hope and happiness Collin brought into Jeff's world. There are a bit of issues for them to deal with as well in this book but it's not really dealt with it's just mentioned generally.
I admit I struggled with this book. There were too many "baby/kids conversations" and general issues of having / growing kids, for me to find my footing, it was just too much of "Real life" that I stir off from. I understand most people would find this realistic, but for me, while I see it as realistic I also see it as irrelevant to the story, or to the one I'm interested in reading. I don't need an absolute and definite HEA to be content with a story. I"m happy to imagine all works well, though with some characters I might doubt it if the difficulties ended too close to the ending of the book, so though this book is a sort of a gift to us readers who loved these characters SO MUCH, it's also not my cup of tea.
I still recommend this series WITH ALL MY HEART. It's an EXCELLENT Contemporary Romance series. Yet for me the last book wasn't necessary. It's getting a closure, for sure, but I would have preferred to get that in a shorter novel / novella style (with MUCH less baby/kids talk).
Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 350 pages, 24-28 April 2016 / On GoodReads