Suzanne said she’d never marry a widower. Mitch promised he’d never marry again. But that was before they met each other.
High school teacher Suzanne Bloomer has buried herself in her job at New Vision Christian School in Farmersburg, Ohio. But she’s none too pleased when widower Mitch Sanderson leaves his fields mid-harvest to fill a teacher/principal position at the school. She knows better than to trust a Sanderson, and she’s determined not to be tricked by one again.
When Mitch’s persistent kindness starts to confuse Suzanne’s feelings for him, she remembers that she is even less interested in a hand-me-down husband than she is in wearing secondhand clothing. Neither has Mitch forgotten his late wife’s plea that he never remarry. His children certainly haven’t. Will their faith in God and trust in each other be enough to overcome the odds and build a life together?
Hand Me Down Husband exceeded my expectations! The premise sounded interesting, but perhaps not my favorite sort of romance story. And I didn't quite catch the actual age range of the characters from the cover, so it threw me off a bit when I realized Mitch was a grandfather.
It didn't take long, though, for me to fall in love with the unfolding love story. In fact, the characters' ages were one of the unique highlights of the reading experience! There are several couples in my family with significant age gaps between them, and I really enjoyed reading an inspirational novel that addressed this not-so-uncommon phenomenon.
Another reason this story personally resonated with me? I attended a private Christian school for my elementary and middle-school years, and so I could relate to the school culture in which Suzanne and Mitch work. It takes so much heart and dedication to keep those small, faith-based schools going, and I loved reading about Suzanne's passion for her job and the children she teaches. (But, to be honest, this story didn't really convince me to become a teacher... I have the utmost respect for people who take on such challenging jobs with hours that extend far beyond time spent in the classroom. I could get weary just reading about it!)
So Suzanne works crazy hours trying to meet the needs of her high-school students (and help some less passionate teachers complete their work). Mitch tackles his new role as teacher/principal with renewed enthusiasm for this task that's quite a bit different from the world of farming. And you know when two people so caring and determined to meet the same goal come together, well, sparks are inevitable!
This story has a lovely rhythm to it - and while there are some instances where paragraphs shift scenes rather quickly, which is a tad bit jarring, the pace is enjoyable. Some of the characters are definitely frustrating, and there are some aggravating decisions and situations along the way, but what's a good romance (or any story, really) without some tension and conflict? There's plenty of that between some selfish secondary characters, tight finances, and a tangled knot of emotions that create a snag on the road to second chances.
Hand Me Down Husband simply made me happy. There's something absolutely charming about the way it shows love growing day by day in everyday life. It's real, but with enough emotional drama and excitement to hold the reader's attention. Delightful!
*With thanks to Abingdon Press for providing me with a PDF copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.*