Author: Jan Irving
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 256 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Western
At a Glance: Reading the Sylvan collection was like visiting with old friends.
Reviewed By: Maryann
Blurb: Return to small-town Sylvan in Jan Irving’s bestselling series—reimagined and re-edited with an all-new bonus novella.
The small Western town of Sylvan is a place for new beginnings for those who won’t settle for anything less than true love. These sweet tales of slow-simmering romance and the old-fashioned values of commitment and pulling together when times get tough prove that sometimes the best matches are also the most unexpected.
With the help of a storm, a washed-up Olympic swimmer and a carpenter cracking under the strain of caring for his Alzheimer’s-affected father learn that opposites sometimes really do attract.
A likable cowboy called Happy Nate is determined to help a mute boy speak again—and to help his father move beyond the repression of the Mennonite community to find the love he deserves.
When a hard-partying cowboy is suddenly saddled with a surprise baby, he’s at his wit’s end. Luckily the local doctor is available to help, and if the two men can find the courage to accept themselves and step into a new life, they might just make a real family. They’ll need to lend each other strength when an unspeakable tragedy strikes—and when it’s time to pick up the pieces.
Review: Reading the Sylvan collection was like visiting with old friends. Jan Irving is the first author I ever e-mailed; that was in 2012. The four novellas in this bundle, Sylvan, Luke, Nate, and Luke’s Baby, are emotional and well written stories, and they all lead to one common denominator—no matter how different people are, they can still find love.
In Sylvan, Mal Harrison is an Olympic gold medal swimmer. He lived the good life for a while, but recently life has taken a downturn for him, and now he’s returned home to try and start over.
Leif Gunnar, owner of a construction company that restores cottages, takes care of Jenner, his father. He’s attracted to Mal, but he also has his doubts about him.
In the next novella, Luke, Luke Walker is a father who’s unsure about what to do with his baby daughter, Jessica. He’s a first time father and just doesn’t see how a baby can fit into his life. While he’s in church, he sees Dr. Morgan Gallagher and catches a break.
Morgan has a ranch that’s worse for the wear. He hires Luke to work around his ranch, and with the help of Morgan’s housekeeper, they all pitch in to help Luke raise baby Jessica.
The story Nate introduces Nathaniel “Happy” Jefferson, a ranch hand. He loves life and loves to love. Nate makes a connection with Sam, Aaron King’s son. Sam hasn’t spoken since his mother’s death, and Nate hopes to connect to Aaron too. Aaron is a conservative man, but he knows he has an attraction to Nate.
And the final story, Luke’s Baby, was a heartbreaking read. We first met Luke and Morgan in their novella, Luke, and we got to see their relationship grow along with the love they shared for baby Jessica. In Luke’s Baby there is so much more information shared about Luke and Morgan, and we see them both struggle through their relationship.
After the first three novellas in the collection, there is an Afterword by the author that explains how the stories came about and how they connect with each other, which really added to making these stories heart felt.
You can buy Sylvan here: