A broken two year engagement and her grandmother's heart attack lead Erin Hanson to leave Seattle and return to her small hometown. She finds it comfortable to greet folks on the street she's known all her life, to settle into an assistant manager's role at the bank, and to live with her grandmother. She still vaguely hopes for a reconciliation with her ex-fiancé, but isn't overly concerned when he never calls. Then the new fire chief Nick Dalton arrives in town and she finds herself avoiding even an introduction as she anticipates her responses to the town's sexiest bachelor.
Something about Erin captures Nick's attention from the first glance. With a precocious twelve-year-old daughter he's anxious to remove from a big city lifestyle, Nick looks forward to settling into his new home. At least the kids in Hainesville don't sport eyebrow and bellybutton piercings like his daughter, or the tattoos of the boys she preferred in LA. Nick's also troubled by the confession his wife made on her deathbed regarding the paternity of their daughter. So he doesn't react graciously when Erin announces her pregnancy. But he can't just forget about her, either.
Responding to CHILD OF HIS HEART is a bit difficult for me. On the one hand, I grew impatient through the first half of the book. While the necessity of the heroine's heart to be free to love another is obviously necessary for the plot line, despite her pregnancy, Erin's feelings for the father of the baby seem a bit thin. After all, they were engaged for two years; their child was conceived during the weekend they broke off the engagement because he insisted upon another postponement; he's running for congress and refuses to acknowledge the child; and he's sleeping with the woman from his office that openly pursued him while he was engaged. At the least, I would expect some genuine anger and disillusionment. Instead, Erin holds out for the possibility of reconciliation, even when he blows her off after she announces her pregnancy. And leaves for a date with the office bimbo.
On the other hand, Nick's responses are genuine and convincing given the weight of his burden regarding his daughter. He handles the news of the pregnancy badly, as I would expect, but reconsiders over time. As he reconciles the difference between paternity and fatherhood, my heart couldn't help but reach out to him. His obnoxious twelve-year-old daughter only adds to the fun as he struggles with raising a child/woman and all that inludes. These tangled and challenged relationships give CHILD OF HIS HEART a depth that makes it an engaging read that comes recommended.