I'll Stand By You
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of Publication: June 2, 2015
Number of pages: 384
Cover Artist: Pat Canova/Getty Images
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sharon Sala brings new meaning to family in her small-town Southern romance
No one is alone
Dori Grant is no stranger to hardship. As a young single mother in the gossip-fueled town of Blessings, Georgia, she's weathered the storm of small-town disapproval most of her life. But when Dori loses everything within the span of an evening, she realizes she has no choice but to turn to her neighbors.
As long as there is love to give
Everyone says the Pine boys are no good, but Johnny Pine has been proving the gossips wrong ever since his mother died and he took over raising his brothers. His heart goes out to the young mother and child abandoned by the good people of Blessings. Maybe he can be the one to change all that...
“Nothing means a damn thing if I don’t have my baby.”
“And now we get to my suggestion. Do you like Johnny Pine?”
“Yes, of course. He’s been wonderful to us.”
“No, I mean, could you like him as relationship material?”
“That possibility exists,” she said.
“Good. Now let me talk to Johnny.”
She handed the phone back to Johnny.
“Now he wants to talk to you.”
She took the baby and Johnny took the phone.
“I have a suggestion that could bring an end to your troubles.”
“Do you like Dori?”
“Well, sure. She’s great.”
“Do you like her enough to consider a personal relationship with her?”
Johnny looked at Dori, then cupped her face and ran his thumb down the side of her jaw.
“Yes, I like her enough to consider a personal relationship.”
Dori shivered beneath his touch as she realized Butterman was asking Johnny the same question he’d asked her.
“Put the phone on speaker,” Butterman said.
“Just a minute,” Johnny said and then pressed a button. “Okay, you’re on speaker now.”
“Here’s the deal,” Butterman said. “You two are very young to have such adult responsibilities. You’re both trying to take care of your families on your own, and now DFCS has their nose in your business and is threatening you with removing the children from your custody, right?”
“Right,” they said.
“So this would end tomorrow if you were married.”
Johnny took a quick breath, started to speak, and then found himself staring at Dori instead, waiting for her reaction.
Dori already knew Johnny cared for her because he’d told her. What he didn’t know was that she was very attracted to him.
“Well? Did both of you faint or what?” Butterman asked.
“I’m game if she is,” Johnny said.
“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to keep our boys,” Dori said.
Butterman chuckled. “Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials. If it were me, I wouldn’t waste any time. Go get the license and find a preacher, and your trouble with Miss Carter is a thing of the past. I assume I am invited to the wedding.”
While technically a New Adult age ranged novel, the maturity level of the principal characters place this solidly in Contemporary Romance. Dori is 17 years old and when she got pregnant, tried out homeschooling, but then just got her GED so that she could start taking college courses. Her son, Luther Joe, is about 6 months old. Dori was raised by her grandparents after her parents died when she was about 8. Since her grandmother passed away, it has just been her and her grandfather, and now Luther Joe.
Johnny Pine is 20 years old and raising his much younger brothers, Marshall age 10 and Brooks age 7. Their father is serving a life sentence in prison and their mother died a couple years prior of a drug overdose. Johnny fought to keep his brothers with him, even if it means literally living on the wrong side of the tracks. Since then, it has been a struggle, one day he dreams of a better life for him and his brothers.
Dori and Johnny have had a passing knowledge of each other, but neither has had the time or inclination to even think about a relationship with everything else going on in their lives. That is, until everything changes in the blink of an eye one night and Dori's whole world comes crashing down. Johnny and his brothers are the only ones who offer her a hand and she accepts.
I think I spent much of the first half of this book either in tears or near tears. It was just scene after scene of heart rending circumstances. But, one thing is sure, you get to know the real Johnny and Dori. The actual romance is very short, most of it happens in about 7 days. But they are very intense days, where Johnny and Dori get to know the true essence of the other person. And you just can't help but cheer them on, after all they have each been through.
Though this book doesn't say that it is part of a series, but Ruby from The Curl Up and Dye by Sharon Sala takes part in helping both Johnny and Dori at different time as well as has several scenes told from her viewpoint.
I enjoyed this book, though I did think the ending was a bit far fetched, it was in the realm of possibilities. I gave this book 4 stars.
Sharon Sala, who has also written under the name Dinah McCall, has 85-plus books in print, published in four different genres-Romance, Young Adult, Western, and Women's Fiction, and her Young Adult books have been optioned for film. She has been named a RITA finalist seven times by Romance Writers of America, and in 2011 they named her the recipient of the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Her books are New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly bestsellers and published in many different languages. She lives in Oklahoma, the state where she was born.
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