(Bethany House Publishers)
April 2015/336 pages/$13.99
Sometimes the most unexpected love can be exactly what a heart needs...
When a Lost Child warning blares over the mall's PA system, Carly Mason finds the little girl playing with a stuffed rabbit. Something about Penny Tremaine is different. An ex-social worker, Carly recognizes that the child suffers fetal alcohol effects, and a piece of Carly's past suddenly confronts her. Never again will she become personally involved with a client. The risks are far too great. But something about Penny--and Penny's handsome father--tugs at Carly's heart.
Dr. Ryan Tremaine is trying to put his life back together. With his ex-wife remarried and on a trip far away, his two teenage sons and Penny are living under his roof full time. Ryan has put his faith in his Sink-or-Swim list, a plan to reconnect with his children. The first step: recruit Carly Mason to be Penny's nanny.
Ryan never anticipated being so drawn to Carly, an attraction Carly seems to fight as much as he does. Could Carly be the missing piece that helps his family stay afloat, or will their blossoming romance only complicate things further?
Known for her realistic and engaging characters, Victoria Bylin delivers an emotion-packed story reminiscent of The Sound of Music, one that reminds us all to believe in the power of faith and love.
Read an excerpt.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Victoria Bylin is a new-to-me author and I will be watching for more of her novels. Much more than the familiar fall-in-love-with-the-nanny scenario, this story drew me in from the opening mall scene and wrapped itself around my heart. Bylin creates believable characters and honestly portrays the struggles they face on a daily basis: struggles which are consequences of their own actions or the actions of others, but which changed the course of their lives. I appreciated that Ryan doesn't make excuses or justify his actions which so greatly impacted and fractured his family, in spite of his lack of spiritual belief. Simultaneously tender and heart-wrenching, Together with You is a multi-layered novel that brings attention to a completely preventable disorder that affects far too many children, while at the same time it shines a light on our need for grace and forgiveness. Don't miss this gripping novel.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
A Q&A WITH VICTORIA BYLIN
(Provided by Bethany House Publishers
1. Together With You is a romance, but there’s a significant storyline about a child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. What inspired you to write about FASD?
FASD is a complicated subject. I’m not an expert in any way, but a boy in my son’s Cub Scout troop put a face on it for me. There was something different about Tommy (not his real name). His facial features seemed flat, and his eyes were small and wide spread. There was no dent over his upper lip, and he had dental abnormalities.
While the other boys would laugh and interact, Tommy struggled with even the simplest tasks.My heart broke for him, especially when I saw how frustrated he became. My heart also broke for his mom. Tommy wasn’t an easy child to be around. He understood some instructions but not others, was easily angered, and sometimes just zoned out.
Flash forward a few years . . . I was researching birth defects for a different book when I stumbled on a fetal alcohol website and saw pictures of kids who looked just like Tommy. Their struggles are heartbreaking, mostly because FASD is one hundred percent preventable. At that moment, I decided Tommy, or a character like him, deserved a book.
2. Where do your books fit in the romance genre?
I write contemporaries that look at modern issues with kindness and hope. A dash of humor is important, too. If a reader laughs and cries at the same time, I’ve done my job. I call this blend “romance fiction.” The romance is at the heart of the story, but my books will always have strong secondary storylines as well.
3. You write about our modern dating culture. Who is your target reader and why?
Women of all ages enjoy love stories. That’s one of the reasons I include characters from different generations. As a girl, I loved hearing my mom talk about how she met my dad, her wedding, and their newlywed years. The world has changed, but falling in love is a constant. On the other hand, women today face choices our parents and grandparents didn’t have to make. The differences are staggering, and that tension makes for good fiction.
4. Together With You is about a man from Los Angeles and woman from Kentucky. What inspired this match-up?
I’m a California girl living in Lexington, the Thoroughbred Capital of the World and the heart of bluegrass. This is the first place I’ve lived where people ask where I’m from because I’m the one with the accent. Kentucky is wonderful place to live, but so is Los Angeles—just in different ways. When I created Carly Jo Mason, the heroine in Together With You, I took my personal experience and flipped it around. I miss the beach and my favorite Mexican restaurant. Carly misses the gorgeous Kentucky sky and Wildcat basketball. Carly is a fish out of water in Los Angeles, but she’s true to herself and her values. I loved writing about her because she’s smart, strong, and quick to love others.
5. What do you hope readers will take away from Together With You?
I’m a thematic writer. I need to know what a book is about in just one word. For Together With You, that word is grace. No one is perfect. I hope readers come away with a sense of how much God loves us even before we fully know him. On a more pragmatic level, I hope to educate women (and men) about the risks of fetal alcohol exposure. If even one woman reads this story and decides to put down that glass of wine, the book will have served a worthy purpose.
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