This wasn't a bad book by any means but it felt very heavy. For a romance it seemed utterly lacking in real joy until the very end.
The tone of the book is set somewhat by Catherine. She lives a half-life, sad about her inability to have children and abandoned by her husband because of it.
And then there is Joe and his youngest daughter Fitz. Joe's wife was killed in a car accident and his youngest daughter, seven-year-old Fitz is having emotional issues because of it.
Joe, Fitz and Catherine's lives intersect over a mother/child figurine that Catherine purchases on impulse. The figurine was actually owned by Joe but he sold it because he was short on cash. But Fitz was very attached to the figurine and wants it back.
I get the feeling that I was supposed to be happy that this lonely woman and this damaged man and child found each other. But I just found them to be somewhat enervating. They didn't lift me at all, on the contrary I found them somewhat wearing. Joe and Catherine, after a few head-butting moments, figure out that they really like each other and then they become lovers. The problem with the story is that there was no real conflict for them.
So we are left with filler and secondary characters that shift focus from the decidedly subdued romance. First there is Catherine's job. She works as a counselor? Den Mother? Life Coach? To a group of pre-teen pregnant girls who are given a sort of area-51 zone in their school where only Catherine and one other teacher work with them. These girls are young, yet hardened by life and their circumstances. Oh, btw, the other teacher has Cancer and her husband left her because of it (see....heavy).
Second is Joe's family. He has a predatory sister-in-law. A Clueless brother. And his oldest teenaged daughter, Delia, who acts as the primary obstacle in keeping Joe and Catherine apart. Normally I would find Delia's actions compelling, because children objecting to a new boyfriend/girlfriend can act as a definite obstacle. But the inclusion of the Brother & sister-in-law took the plot-line from potentially interesting to downright ludicrous.
But Joe and Catherine (and Fitz) get their HEA in the end. But even so, all I could think about was that this book went beyond angsty and straight into depressing.