Book Review: And Then I Found You

April 5, 2013 adoption, book review, love, She Reads, St.Martins Press, women's fiction 4

Written By: Patti Callahan Henry

Published By: St. Martin’s Press April 9 2013

Length: 272 pages

Source: Publisher via She Reads Book Club

Katie Vaughn fell in love with Jack Adams when she was 13 years old, and she imagined they would always be together.  They dated, managed 4 years of college away from each other at different schools and yet when Jack wanted a commitment and Katie back in his life every day, she hesitates. One last weekend with Jack leads to an unplanned pregnancy, when Katie realizes she’s pregnant she also learns that Jack is just months away from marrying another woman.  Katie makes the difficult decision to give her baby girl, who she has named Luna, to a couple unable to conceive.  

Thirteen years after this choice Kate(a more mature nickname) is a happy fulfilled woman living in her South Caroline hometown.  She owns a small but chic clothing boutique, Mimsy.  She has close ties to her parents and two sisters.  Her best friend works for her, as well as a young woman she once spent time with in a wilderness program to help young abused women.  Kate appears to have it all, she’s been dating Rowan for a few years, and they’ve just introduced the parents to each other.  When Kate accidentally finds an engagement ring in Rowan’s night stand she’s less than thrilled.  Not because she doesn’t love him, she does, but she knows she has other stories in her life to finish.

When Kate travels to Birmingham to see Jack Adams again, it opens up doubts and questions she’s left unanswered.  This quick decision sets in motion a domino effect of  emotions for everyone in her life.

I was so excited when this book was chosen for  the April She Reads Book Club choice.  Patti Callahan Henry will also be speaking at the UCF Book Festival next weekend and this book was on my radar!  Lucky for me, I really enjoyed the book and look forward to meeting Patti even more so now.

I was immediately drawn to this book, stories of adoption have always intrigued me.  Katie is clearly in flux in her love life.  She has a history with Jack, they have a daughter out there, and while she doesn’t regret the adoption, she has never stopped loving Jack.  It becomes clear that he also has feelings for her.  Her family supports her happiness, but I must say her parents attitude about the daughter she gave away is a bit overbearing.  It’s as if they still hold it over her head.  I enjoyed the relationships she had with her sisters and her two closest friends.  Rowan was a great guy, but he never felt right for her.

The story behind the story is the best.  Patti’s sister had an unplanned pregnancy, and also put her daughter up for adoption.  She knew that at age 21 her daughter would be able to access the information of her birth parents if she wanted to.  Imagine her surprise when she and her sisters were all three sent facebook friend requests from a young woman born on the same day as her daughter.  You can read more about this in the short e- book Patti Callahan Henry and her sister Barbi Callahan Burris wrote titled FRIEND REQUEST

What a beautiful book Henry has written inspired by the story of her sister.  She has given us rich and developed characters, struggling with difficult life choices.  I loved the small details that tied this story together.

In 1968 my own sister became pregnant, as was so often the way my parents insisted she marry the father of the baby.  The details aren’t really known to me.  I was only 8 years old.  She didn’t really love him, and when she delivered her son, she decided to give him up for adoption.  It was a closed adoption, the only thing I know is that it was through Catholic services.  My mom begged her to keep him, or let our family raise him.  My sister was depressed and didn’t want to raise him or stay married.  She did as she wished, and then she left our family.  She was about 20 when she left.   As this was such a taboo I was told the baby died.  Only as a teen was I told the truth.  It breaks my heart that my sister went through this virtually alone.  While we were mostly estranged from each other I did learn she and her daughter had tried to find her son, unsuccessfully.  My sister passed away in 2011.

I’ve given this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars, and I enjoyed it very much.  I think there will be much discussion about this one.  Discussions of adoption, young adults seeking out their birth parents, the role of those birth parents etc.  I look forward to our She Reads discussions, because I know they are coming!!

Patti Callahan Henry has written seven previous novels, and I’m looking forward to reading them too.  You can visit her website for more information.   Please visit She Reads to see more reviews of And Then I Found You all this month.  We’ll also be sharing Patti’s writing room and much more. 

4 Responses to “Book Review: And Then I Found You”

  1. Poof...books!

    Anita,

    I really loved your review on this book. I thought my heart broke learning after the fact about Henry’s real life events that inspired this story. But then I read your account of your sister and it was just that more touching. I hope this was cathartic in some ways.

  2. Susan

    I’m an adoptive mom, so stories about adoption always touch my heart and soul. I can’t wait to read this one. I didn’t know about the e-book Henry had written about the true story, so I’ll definitely check that one out after I read AND THEN I FOUND YOU.

    I’m sorry to hear your sister’s sad story. Our daughter’s birth mother’s story is also very sad, but she made the brave and selfless choice to place the baby she couldn’t care for for adoption and it’s made all the difference in our lives 🙂 Someday, I hope she can meet her birth mother, but that will, of course, be up to them …

    Anyway, thanks for your review!

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