Synopsis: In Redemption, Oklahoma, a young boy is found huddled in a Dumpster, clutching a Christmas book. Scared and refusing to speak, he captures undercover agent Kade McKendrick's guarded heart. Kade brings the child home until he can track down his family - and his story. All Kade has is a name, Davey, and the boy's trust of sweet, pretty teacher Sophie Bartholomew. With her kindness and faith, Sophie helps both the boy and the battle-scarred cop to smile again. And as they uncover the mystery of a very special child, a family is formed - just in time for Christmas.
First line: In twenty years of Dumpster diving, Popbottle Jones had found his share of surprises in other people's trash.
Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback, published by Steeple Hill, 2011; 217 pages.
My thoughts: Linda Goodnight is one of the two authors who first got me hooked on the Love Inspired line of books (the other being Jillian Hart). Her stories are heartwarming, the settings charming (love the town of Redemption), and the characters well drawn out and easy to connect with.
Kade, staying temporarily with his aunt in Redemption, is the ultimate wounded warrior, an undercover cop who's faith has been shaken by the human horrors he has witnessed on the job in Chicago. Sophie is an optimistic and upbeat teacher who loves Christmas and winter and snow and pretty much everything that comes along. Including a lost little boy and a lost man, both of whom she longs to take care of. One is eager to accept her love, one is not.
As Kade throws himself wholeheartedly into the search for Davey's family and for answers to how and why the little boy ended up alone in a dumpster, cold and hungry and unable to talk, he also finds himself doing some soul searching about his own life and whether he really wants to go back to Chicago after the holidays. Kade is a wonderful hero who I was a little in love with from the first chapter. The banter between Kade and Sophie was amusing and I smiled a lot while reading this book.