Dr. Ryan Tremaine, ophthalmologist, was married with two sons when he went astray which ended in divorce. The result of that wayward fling was a female child who suffered from the effects of a mother who drank too much during pregnancy. When the mother of that child died, her sister wanted custody but Ryan stepped up and claimed his responsibility as her father. His teen sons resent him and his daughter Penny is more than a handful, going through nannies like dirty Kleenexes.
On an attempted family bonding trip to the mall to get 15 yr. old Kyle some baseball cleats, he asks the younger Eric to take the younger yet Penny to get ice cream for the few minutes it'll take to get the shoes for Kyle. Eric resents his half-sister and has no interest in watching her. Dragging her to the arcade instead of getting ice cream is a terrible choice because of her sensitivities and when Ryan and Kyle find him, they fail to find Penny who has left the area. The inwardly frantic and angry Ryan composes himself enough to organize the search for Penny.
Carly spots a little girl playing with stuffed animals at the back of the toy store where she works. After some investigation and conversation with the girl, she realizes first the child has wandered off and second the child has special needs. Relying on her education, Carly figures a way to befriend the girl and expects at any time a desperate parent will show up for her.
When the desperate father appears, his relief is instant along with his gratitude. Through some discussion the attractive doctor wants to hire Carly to be Penny's new nanny which Carly resists for a variety of reasons but eventually succumbs to the desire to help this distraught father and family make good adjustments to their unique situation.
The romance is overshadowed in this story by the effect of FAS on this family. It's basically a teaching tutorial on this unfortunate preventable disorder which affects children in both similar and very different ways. Carly's had experience with the needs of those affected by this and has one giant failure she neither forgives in herself nor forgets. She handles Penny the best and is helpful to Ryan and the boys with their understanding of her radical behaviors at times. Capturing the thought patterns and reactions of young Penny is done very well as is Carly's provision and instruction for the little girl.
The faith factor comes between Ryan and Carly as they fight their attractions to each other. Carly's Christianity is first in her life until her attraction to Ryan toys with her commitment.
I never warmed up to either of the protagonists in this story, although I preferred Carly. The chemistry just didn't show up for me. My lack of attraction to Ryan had nothing to do with his moral failure but rather his awkward conduct and condescension to Carly's faith. The constant teaching in regard to Penny felt like the "romance" was a prop to get the point across about the difficulties of FAS and the terrible choices which lead to this avoidable affliction.
Father, please continue to bless Victoria's life and writing. Provide what she needs to write the stories you have just for her to tell. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.