There had to be at least one healthy branch on his family tree...
Ben Taylor, widower and father of four lively children, enjoys his easy, uncomplicated life. He likes his work and has a competent nanny to manage his household. Everything is good until he decides to seek out his biological parents and discovers a family tree with tangled roots and broken branches.
His comfortable life crumbles when he gets caught up in a criminal network of fraud and conspiracy at his new job. When Ben is forced into a dangerous alliance, he scrambles to find a safe situation and protection for his children before setting out to clear his name--all without getting himself killed in the process.
A nanny with a past...
Becoming a nanny was the perfect solution when Teresa Cooper needed a place to hide ten years ago, but now that she's no longer in danger, she's ready to move on and make a new life for herself. When Ben asks her to take the children to an unknown relative in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, she finds herself in hiding again, this time with four children in tow.
As the children explore the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula, Teresa begins to wonder about God's plan for her future. Who is this stranger Ben trusts with his children? Why here? Can a city-bred nanny find joy in this wild corner of God's creation?
***Once again, Cathe Swanson has brought us a cast of unique characters in unpredictable situations. There is nothing cookie-cutter about Baggage Claim. Toss out the stereotypes that come to mind when you picture a nanny–this get-it-done woman won’t remind you of Julie Andrews or Fran Drescher, but she’s just as memorable as she shepherds four kids–and their widower dad who needs some parenting lessons. Add a criminal investigation that might put the kids in danger and you’ve got a story that will keep you turning pages…and a plot that will linger in your head long after you close the book. – Becky Melby, author
“No one is promised a normal family, dear, and we all grow up anyhow.”
This is a story of being lost and found in love and in faith. Teresa Cooper remakes herself from abuse victim to “nanny” of four small kids as well as a young father who also needs a bit of a nanny. Ben Taylor was widowed at 24 because of a drunk driver. As the only child adopted by a loving couple, he is beginning to build a life as an adult and not finding it easy struggling with school, work and his kids.He gets discouraged as he finds his biological mother’s family traumatized by the secret of his birth, and part of his road to maturity is finding some more pieces of his puzzle with the journey to his biological father: an artist in the rural area of Michigan who had no idea he existed!
And then Ben stumbles upon a situation at work that might actually take all of this away.
Set in Northern Illinois and the Upper end of Michigan, Swanson has developed a story that we will relate to as much as it might confound us. Can someone be manipulated as Ben was? Can he ever have peace around his losses? Will he be a good father? Will Teresa come out of hiding? How will this truly blended family save each other?
I loved this funny, smart and thoughtful book. I liked how faith, or lack of it, is just a part of the story in a world that might discourage that. I live how each child has a separate personality and how Teresa, and later Jonah, recognize it since they interact more closely with them. And, although you are supposed to not like the “bad guys”, even they are well drawn.
When I finished this book very early this morning,I realized I will miss these people….and am eagerly awaiting Swanson’s next book. Highly recommended. – Andrea L Stoeckel