Author: Tere Michaels
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: DSP and Amazon
Received from Publisher
After several years of happy coupledom, Matt and Evan can relax in the knowledge that their little family has survived the worst of it. The two older girls are away at college, the twins have yet to fully hit teen angst, Matt is doing well with his part time security consulting, and Evan is about to be promoted to captain—it seems like things are calm and bright.
Until they aren’t.
As the holidays approach, Evan and Matt get a shock no parent is ever prepared for: feisty Miranda, Evan’s eldest, has a new boyfriend, Kent, and they are talking marriage after just three months together. In fact, Miranda wants to bring him to Thanksgiving dinner—along with his parents, Blake and Cornelia.
Lives are in transition as everyone gathers at the stunning Hamptons beach home of Daisy and Bennett to celebrate the christening of their new baby. Griffin and Jim—secretly growing tired of their rootless lifestyle—are in a rocky spot in their relationship. And as the godfather, Griffin finds himself yearning for something he’s sure Jim won’t be interested in.
Matt and Evan are looking to reconnect during the long weekend, as their respective careers pull them in separate directions. With less time spent together, Evan grows concerned about what will happen when the last two kids leave the nest.
Review: Cherished & Blessed is comprised of two novellas – the fourth and fifth books in the Faith, Love, & Devotion series. It really needs to be read in order of the series to really understand the characters and their histories together.
In Cherished, the story revolves around the eldest Cerelli child, Miranda. Now in her early twenties, Miranda has been away studying at college for the last couple of years. Unlike the other three kids, she has never really accepted Matt, either as her father’s partner or the role he plays in the family. In this book, things finally come to a head when Miranda announces, via her aunt, that she is planning to marry her boyfriend of less than four months. A boyfriend she hadn’t even mentioned to her father before. After dodging Evan’s calls for a week or so, she finally agrees to bring Kent, her boyfriend, to Thanksgiving dinner along with Kent’s parents. When they arrive, it becomes evidently clear that Miranda had deliberately not told them about Matt in an effort to embarrass Evan and Matt. Instead, she only ends up embarrassing Kent, his parents and, most of all, herself.
Miranda came across as very immature and it was difficult to find any sympathy for her. She acted like a spoilt teenager and the way she treated Evan and Matt was extremely selfish. Yes, she had lost her mother. Six years ago. Yes, it must have been a shock when her father fell in love with a man. He and Matt have been together for four and a half years. At what point, having come from a close and loving family, do you realise your father hasn’t betrayed your mother by falling in love again after her accidental death? At what point do you accept that the man your father loves is part of the family and is loved and respected by all of your other siblings? That he not only makes your father happy, but is also a caring and stabilising influence on the other members of the family? While Miranda does finally take steps towards growing up and acting like an adult, she still has a ways to go at the end. I really love that Matt and Evan were completely settled in their relationship in this book. They work wonderfully together as a partnership in every way.
In Blessed, Daisy and Bennett welcome their new daughter into the world, bringing the group of friends together to celebrate her christening. Evan and Matt leave their recent family dramas with Miranda behind and just enjoy the time spent with their friends. Evan has become so much more comfortable in his own skin and sure of how good a relationship he has with Matt. It’s clear that the love they have for each other is greater than any obstacle put in their way. On a personal level, I did get a little frustrated with Matt and Evan repeatedly being labelled as gay. Since they had both had previously been attracted to women, I don’t understand it. Especially when the author had another character in Bennett identify as bi in a conversation with Griffin.
Jim and Griffin have spent the last couple of years living a bit of a gypsy life, travelling for Griffin’s job. Now an executive on the film for the script he wrote telling Ed Kelly’s story, Griffin is determined to do it justice. However, the rootless lifestyle is starting to wear thin and that is even more accentuated when, after meeting his new goddaughter, Griffin comes to the realisation that he wants more. He wants a home and children and maybe even a couple of dogs, and he desperately wants them with Jim. It was hard seeing these two going through a rough patch, both afraid to open up and communicate about what they need. Afraid that the other won’t want the same things.
I found the time-hopping and skipping over events a little confusing at times. I did like some resolution to things that occurred in the previous books. All in all, Blessed was a nice wrapping up of most of the loose threads from previous books, as far as the relationship of Matt and Evan is concerned. A new possible development is introduced for Jim and Griffin as well as a big step forward in their relationship. It was wonderful getting to see both couples, as well as their close friends in New York, all together. It seems like there may be one more book to go to really wrap things up as there are still a couple of major points left hanging with Griffin and Jim that being around Daisy’s new baby has brought to the surface, along with Evan’s likely promotion at work and what it would mean – if he is prepared for the role the department would place him as an openly gay (even though he’s actually bisexual) police captain and poster boy for their diversity program.