Sharon Sala is very accomplished at writing books about families with complex problems. While Finders Keepers deals with the problems of single parenthood and blended families, it is more of a straightforward and predictable plot than is usual for this author.
Molly Eden is working in her backyard when an adorable little boy asks her simply, “Isth you my momma?” That innocent question brings up the pain of the past for Molly. Years earlier, she had been in a car accident with her then-fiancé, Duncan Wilder. Waking in the hospital, she not only discovers that her fiancé is actually a married man, but she has lost the baby she was carrying, and the accident has left her unable to have another child.
Disillusioned and heartbroken, an older and wiser Molly has rebuilt her life. The owner of a successful flower shop called Garden of Eden, she lives quietly in the same house where she was raised. She discovers the little boy’s name is Joey Rossi when his frantic father starts calling for him from the yard next door. Father and son are reunited, and Molly gets a chance to meet her new neighbors.
Joseph Rossi has moved to Oklahoma City with his son, Joey, to start a new life and a new business. Joey’s mother was Joseph’s college sweetheart, who decided she didn’t want to be a mother. Joseph convinced her to have the baby and he would assume all responsibilities for him. Now, father and son have begun their new life, but Joey quickly attaches himself to Molly, and Joseph finds himself drawn not only to her beauty, but also to her loving, giving spirit.
Marjorie Weeks is the receptionist at Red Earth Designs, Joseph’s architectural firm. With her own problems and biases, Marjorie convinces herself that she is justified as she meddles in Joseph’s personal business, causing trouble for him and Molly. When Joey’s mother shows up unexpectedly, even more trouble arises.
Molly and Joseph slowly build their relationship with many stops and starts along the way as misunderstandings arise. At first, Molly avoids Joseph, thinking he is a married man. Later, Joseph worries that his main attraction for Molly is his son, Joey. Their lives become entwined as Molly is drawn into their daily life by her love of Joey and her physical attraction to his father. As she spends time with them, she begins to love Joseph for the kind, loving man that he is. They ultimately become lovers and then must deal with the baggage from both their pasts.
While the story is predictable and many of the character’s problems seem to be of their own making, the characters themselves are likeable. You love Joey from the very beginning and want him to get the momma he wants and deserves. Both Molly and Jordan work through their own personal insecurities as their relationship progresses. It comes down to a matter of trust. On both sides.
Finders Keepers, originally published in 1997, is a sweet family story that lacks the usual depth of plot and character of a Sharon Sala book. The plot offers no surprises and seems to drag out a little longer than necessary, but the likeable characters and the fact that they do grow, keep you turning the pages until the end. A good read.