Perfectly Imperfect. What a great description for the characters of Flying Into Love.
It’s a windy and cold day in western Illinois. In fact, this year’s autumn has had an abundance of windy, cold days and I don’t care for wind. Wind makes me want to shelter at home, drink hot beverages, and read good books that make me forget about wind. What a perfectly imperfect time to pick up the sweet romance, Flying Into Love, by Kathleen Rouser.
Talia Sampson has a problem. She has several problems that were not of her making. Her aunt has left her a sprawling Victorian mansion and a publishing career that her aunt’s literary agent wants Talia to continue incognito. Moreover, Talia has indefinite responsibility for her special needs niece whose mother is too busy with her own career to care for Bianca. To complicate life, Ben Tanner lands on her doorstep, thinking her home is open to needy war vets.
Ben faces issues of his own. Released from his third deployment to Afghanistan, the war vet has no family to come home to other than the foster family who raised him, the family he must tell how their own son died in battle. The Victorian mansion and the woman who inherited it are mixed blessings. They provide shelter and odd jobs, but his heart wars between his attraction to Talia, his own woundedness, and Talia’s initial dislike of him. A discovery from the past draws them together, and teaches them to accept each other and their imperfections.
The novel drew me in because there’s a promise of a hot air balloon. I have always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon. But what does a hot air balloon have to do with a woman who is trying to balance upkeep of a Victorian mansion, a writing career, and care for a special needs child, and a man who has returned from military duty? Curiosity won. I kept reading because I wanted to find that hot air balloon and take a ride with Ben and Talia!
I love the novels written by Kathleen Rouser. There’s a normal everyday kind of reality to them. She describes people like people I know. She’s not afraid to show the weaknesses and quirks that, let’s face it, we all have. But she doesn’t overstate those quirks. Instead, she shows how flaws and foibles impact the decisions of everyday life. Her novels show a deeper side to romance, that true love is made up of accepting ourselves and each other, warts and all. Rouser has the courage to show that romance can be tarnished by people’s unwillingness to accept handicapped children, but there are decent men and women who do have the patience and love to accept and see the value of a child with special needs and treat them as people worth our time, extra effort, and genuine love.
I love that a special needs child has a major role in the story and how the author describes the everyday, ordinary, both good and bad moments of life with a child with Down’s Syndrome. Ben, Talia, Janine, Gil, Bianca, Earl, and Dottie are all so normally human and believable characters. Best of all, they recognize their faults, have the courage to admit them, and are willing to depend on God to become better people.
Flying Into Love is an easy to read novella that you can finish in one windy day. It made me long for a calm clear blue sky and my own hot air balloon that I could share with Preacher Creature. Whether you long for a ride in a hot air balloon or prefer to stay tethered to the ground, I recommend Flying Into Love for any kind of weather day.
Flying Into Love is available on Amazon.