The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness

Title: The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness

Author: Maddie Dawson

Publication Date: October 25, 2016

Family Matters

Nina Popkin just wants to know where she came from. Adopted before the age of two, she has recently buried her mother and at thirty-five is reeling from loneliness. As she confronts a crisis of conscience, she meets much older Carter and his fifteen year old daughter Indigo one fateful night in front of her business. Nina and Carter begin a romantic relationship in the aftermath of his failed marriage. Nina takes on moving into Carter’s home after his wife moves away. She also takes on the role of stepmother to two teenagers, ferrying them around and cooking family meals while trying to be a sounding board for their angst in the absence of their selfish mother. At the same time, she learns she has a sister who was also adopted at birth and shortly thereafter discovers her birth mother’s name and identifying information. Nina has found her family but do they want anything to do with her or each other?

Nina is both lighthearted and funny, possessing a humorous bent that serves her well as a rallying cheerleader to a reluctant sister, a sullen teen, and a birth mother so haunted by her past secrets that she fears even meeting her two grown daughters. Nina’s doggedness without expectation puts the reader squarely on her side as navigates fighting for the family she never had though some of her choices seem miscalculated.

There was little felt connection between Carter and Nina which made it difficult to root for their relationship, especially since it is Nina who is burdened with most of the life changing issues while Carter appears to want to bury his head instead of dealing with life’s stresses full on. He possesses some very unappealing qualities which make him unattractive as a potential partner.

Life gets shaken up and in the settling back down Nina comes to several realizations about her life and what she wants from it. It wasn’t a favorite but it is a solid story

BRB Rating: Read It


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