Before I Called You Mine (2020)

About the Book

Book: Before I Called You Mine

Author: Nicole Deese

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Lit

Release Date: March 31, 2020

Lauren Bailey may be a romantic at heart, but after a decade of matchmaking schemes gone wrong, there’s only one match she’s committed to now–the one that will make her a mother. Lauren is a dedicated first grade teacher in Idaho, and her love for children has led her to the path of international adoption. To satisfy her adoption agency’s requirements, she gladly agreed to remain single for the foreseeable future; however, just as her long wait comes to an end, Lauren is blindsided by a complication she never saw coming: Joshua Avery.

Joshua may be a substitute teacher by day, but Lauren finds his passion for creating educational technology as fascinating as his antics in the classroom. Though she does her best to downplay the undeniable connection between them, his relentless pursuit of her heart puts her commitment to stay unattached to the test and causes her once-firm conviction to waver.

With an impossible decision looming, Lauren might very well find herself choosing between the two deepest desires of her heart . . . even if saying yes to one means letting go of the other.

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My Thoughts

I do not have adequate words to do this book justice. Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Desse is absolutely amazing. I loved every minute with Lauren and Joshua and I am so sad my time with these characters is over. I can say with great sincerity, this is a story I will never forget.

There is SO much to love and appreciate about this story, but here are my top-three reasons this book should be read immediately (if you haven’t read it yet):

  • Lauren and Joshua’s relationship — I love everything about these two characters and their path to love. How they meet is super cute and super hilarious. Joshua is an excellent hero and I love how instantly attracted he is to Lauren. I love how he truly sees who she is right from the very beginning. Because of her standing with the international adoption agency, Lauren is not able to date. Joshua accepts and respects this, so he and Lauren become good friends. I’m talking really good friends. This may actually be my favorite aspect to their relationship. Yes, the chemistry between the two is fierce, but the foundation they create as friends is everything. It’s what gets them through some really tough moments and eventually allows them to get to their happily ever after. Lauren and Joshua’s relationship makes my heart so, so happy.
  • Motherhood (in God’s time) — Being a mom is hard. I mean really hard. The mom-guilt, the sleepless nights, the worry and anxiety, the constant second-guessing — and that’s just the emotional aspect. There’s also the physical aspect — working a full-time job all day then coming home to make dinner, checking homework, chauffeuring to practices, doctor appointments, and/or school events, and the whole bedtime routine. A 24-hour day can sometimes feel endless. But, it is all 100% worth it. I have wanted to be a mom since I was four-years old. It took me a long time to be a mom, and I often struggled in the waiting. There were many nights where I wrestled with God begging Him to make my dreams come true. Years would go by and still no husband and still no baby. I got to the point where I was ready to give up. Clearly, God didn’t want me to be a mom. Wouldn’t you know it, when I stopped trying to force the matter God put my husband into my life and then my daughter came several years later. What I appreciated, perhaps the most, about this story is Lauren’s impatience. I appreciate this because her impatience is SO relatable. Lauren wants to be a mom but it’s just not working out. The men she has been on dates with are NOT husband material. It’s been years and years of awful first dates that lead to nowhere. So, she applies for international adoption thinking that maybe she is meant to be a single mom, but even that is taking forever and seems to lead to a whole lot of nothing. In all the waiting — the constant waiting — Lauren sees moms everywhere and it hurts. Why can’t she have her dreams? Lauren wrestles with God (and His timing) and gets to a point where she kind of wants to give up. And then life happens BIG time and she has to make hard choices. What Lauren goes through is SO realistic it makes her a very life-like character who is super easy to root for and love. And, Lauren’s story proves that God’s timing truly is perfect.
  • Fangirling over a popular education guru — So this may be something only teachers get, but Lauren’s adoration for Joshua’s father (the educational guru) made me laugh out loud. There are several real-life education gurus I would love to meet, specifically Kelly Gallagher. How this man has informed my teaching over the years is incalculable. I know for a fact that if I ever met him I would be tongue tied. I know cause I got to meet two of my FAVORITE poets — Billy Collins and Seamus Heaney — and it was like my mouth and brain stopped functioning. Anyway, I love how passionate a teacher Lauren is because of the strong teachers who came before her. I love how Deese illustrates the good-heartedness and nerdiness of teachers. It was fun to see a representation of myself and so many teachers I know and love through Lauren’s character.

I’m sorry it took me so long to get to this book, but I am seriously glad I did finally read this lovely story. Before I Called You Mine is an exceptional story that made me laugh and cry and cheer. I’m leaving this story filled with heartwarming hope. If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend you do ASAP. Before I Called You Mine is a story you will not want to miss.

I received a copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Bethany House Publishing, via NetGalley in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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