Monday, May 4, 2020

Review: "Before I Called You Mine" by Nicole Deese

A couple months ago, I started seeing buzz about Nicole Deese's Before I Called You Mine. Some of the bloggers and bookstagrammers I follow were even calling it the best book they've read so far this year. Naturally, I was intrigued ... and now that I've read the novel, I understand the buzz!

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.

Oh, this book! It had me feeling all the feels: joy, sadness, anger, hope. The novel is written in first person from Lauren's perspective, and I think that really helped me connect with the character. Lauren is so likable—certainly not perfect, as her complicated relationship with her family shows, but absolutely trying to do the right thing and following the call God put on her life.

The budding romance between Lauren and Joshua is sweet (Joshua is certainly a delightful romantic hero), and if Before I Called You Mine were just a romance, I would have enjoyed it. But what takes this book to another level is Lauren's other relationships—with her best friend Jenna, adoptive mom Gail (whose son really started Lauren thinking about adoption), Joshua's family, and Lauren's mom and sister. These relationships all felt so real, and all were integral to Lauren's adoption journey, which is really the heart of this novel.

I really appreciated this look into international adoption—I know a few people who have adopted internationally, and it was clear that Deese knew what she was talking about. I wasn't at all surprised to see in Deese's author's note that she and her husband adopted from China. There's definitely a ring of authenticity to Lauren's journey.

Also, I have to mention that I did not know how this book would end. That is so, so rare in a romance, and I really appreciated it. I flew through the pages, wondering what would happen next, and the end result is an incredibly satisfying, thought provoking novel. 5 stars.

Buy the book.
Read my review of Deese's A Summer Remade (4 stars).

Nicole Deese's ( eight humorous, heartfelt, and hope-filled novels include the 2017 Carol Award-winning A Season to Love. Her 2018 release, A New Shade of Summer, was a finalist in the RITA Awards, Carol Awards, and INSPY Awards. Both of these books are from her bestselling Love in Lenox series. When she's not working on her next contemporary romance, she can usually be found reading one by a window overlooking the inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She lives in small-town Idaho with her happily-ever-after hubby, two rambunctious sons, and princess daughter with the heart of a warrior.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. I finished this just a few days ago, great book!

    1. Yes! So good! Glad you liked it, too, Patty :-)

  2. Though this isn't the typical romance I like (with a HEA that's solid), I did still really enjoy this book. One I'm sure I'll revisit (with a best of list) later this year. :)

    1. I was surprised by just how OK I was with the trajectory of the romance. This book surprised me in all the best ways. Glad you liked it, too!


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