Then Came You: A Bradford Sisters Novella - Becky Wade

Date Published: March 7, 2017

Format: Kindle

Source: Own Copy

Date Read: May 29, 2019

Read for BL-opoly 2019

 

Blurb

A leather-bound journal. A single father. A woman in pursuit of freedom.

Garner Bradford, heir to the troubled Bradford Shipping empire, doesn't know much about babies. But he's going to have to learn fast because he's just become a single father to his newborn daughter. As he confesses through his journal entries, he's not entirely sure how to keep a newborn alive, whether or not he'll ever patch together his shattered heart, or how to forgive himself for his mistakes.

Career girl Kathleen Burke is wholly uninterested in settling down. She has big dreams, and none of them include Garner and his small hometown in Washington State. Yet she can't seem to get her handsome boss out of her head or her heart. There's something extraordinarily tempting about his beautifully sad green eyes. . . .

Told through journal entries, phone conversations, and letters, Then Came You
is a unique, heart-stirring romance novella by acclaimed author Becky Wade.

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Review

 

There will be a lot of cursing and trigger warnings and just a complete rant against this shit-show of a novella. So naturally, spoilers - which will be hidden under the page break. Also, really long.

 

Trigger Warnings: rape

Holy Fuck, what did I read? In the year 2019 no less! 0 stars, but honestly, -100 stars for this patriarchal and internal misogynist bullshit. 

 

The overall writing is done by alternating chapters with journal entries from Garner and random writings and telephone conversation transcripts of Kathleen. The sheer amount of info-dumping are mind numbing.

 

First, let's meet the "hero", Garner Bradford. At the beginning of the story (a mere 150 pages), he is a recent college grad and working for the family company, Bradford Shipping. The business is struggling due to market forces and because Garner's dad sucks at being CEO. Garner is working in the finance department, so he has an idea of the challenges facing the company, but isn't in a position to do anything to change it or even think of what to change. However, Garner has a bigger problem - his dick led him to a beautiful French college grad on a grand tour he met at a party in the beginning of the summer and because she is French and sexually experienced (yes, the author entwined the two to show how what a slut Sylvia was - also she was never given a last name, so a throw-away character), Garner was seduced into having pre-marital sex. Needless to say, Sylvia ended up pregnant, because Garner's church-based sex education didn't include the use of condoms. So Sylvia tells Garner she is about three months along and leaves the choice up to him - abortion or have the kid (absolutely no mention of adoption at all - it's very black/white). Sylvia wants the experience of being pregnant, so she tells him so is okay with having the kid. But she has made it clear (the night they met, before they had sex, before they had this conversation, after this conversation) that she is not sticking around and not looking for marriage or seriousness. So the kid is four weeks old, Sylvia is healed enough and walks out on Garner and the baby and returns to her traveling. 

 

Garner is gobsmacked that a woman chose to stick to her word about leaving. Garner was under the assumption that now that they have a kid, Sylvia would stay with him forever. I mean he is using the kid as an anchor to keep Sylvia and is sad that she doesn't really want to be a mother, much less than the mother-martyr that his church approves of as a role for women. He is so in love, and is a mess. Plus he now has to take care of a newborn he wanted - all by himself, 24 hours a day. His mom and sister come to help him each day, but they only stay for 2 hours! He has to take care of the girl the rest of the day! Unimaginable! It is so hard, you guys don't even know. *Head:Desk*

 

*SIGH* This is all laid out in the journal entry; the journal was given to him by his sister as a way of dealing with his situation - a situation of his own making.

 

The next chapter we meet the "heroine" - Kathleen is a new college grad and ready to take the business world by storm by getting a VP job at Estee Lauder as soon as they hire her. NO interest in make-up, skin care, perfume, nothing to make wanting to work for the brand other than a book report in the 4th grade. Six months later, she is taking a job in the Customer Service department of Bradford Shipping, listening to customer complaint and dreaming of a job with Estee Lauder …..why Estee Lauder specifically? Because in the 4th grade, she did a book report on Estee Lauder and from then on, she was determined that her destiny lied with the that company. Sure Jan. 

 

Kathleen has a BFF (Rose) that she calls regularly and a mother (Margaret) that she avoids as much as humanly possible while keeping the family money flowing. Kathleen is the granddaughter of the founder/CEO of Atlas Aeronautics and her mother wants her to take a job with granddad and stay close to family rather than live her life like a damn grown ass adult. Margaret deserves the "Mommy Dearest" award for most annoying side character. Rose has to calm down Kathleen when Margaret starts in, and Rose has to uplift when Kathleen is depressed about her career and personal life. Rose is basically Kathleen's emotional support animal - that is all she is good for in Kathleen's viewpoint. Margaret is for the random bible quotes shoved down everyone's throats. 

 

Pathological narcissism all around. Kathleen is the stereotypical New Adult heroine.

 

So Willow "Illegitmate Child" Bradford is now two and pretty much being raised by the Russian nanny that Garner hired. Garner has returned to the church, hoping to heal his reputation in the community and for the free childcare that the church nursery offers on Sundays (Russian nanny's day off). It was through the church that Garner met Robin. Within 12 months of Sylvia's leaving, Garner and Robin are married and are expecting a baby, because condoms must be a thing Garner has never heard of. If Sylvia got the French slut treatment, Robin gets the Christian version of a Mary Sue. Robin is perfectly perfect in every way, a quiet and uncreative Mary Poppins. But she loves Garner and is so glad to finally be married and be seen as an adult in the church. Most importantly, she was willing to be a mom to Willow, so it was all good to Garner. True Love, I guess. Robin has some mental health issues after the birth of Nora the Legitmate Child, so Garner encourages Robin to take time for self care and return to jogging/walking routine. Robin feels better, their life is perfect. 

 

About the time Nora is seven months old, Robin goes for a jog in the park and is raped and murdered by the serial rapist/murder known in the media as the Duck Tape Rapist. The reader finds this out via Kathleen's telephone conversation in which she gasped to Rose that Robin was such a nice person, how could this thing happened to her? And how sad Garner must be losing his wife and now has to raise two kids on his own? Oh poor Garner! And I guess Robin, but let's focus on Garner's pain okay?

 

Garner's response on his wife's death? How can I be a single parent to two kids? Thank goodness I kept the Russian nanny after I married Robin. And man, it sucks about Robin, hoping God took her soul before she was raped and murdered so she didn't suffer any pain...but Garner reveals that he never loved Robin the person, he loved Robin for what role she played in his life. His real love is still Sylvia, French slut. Oh, how he still misses Sylvia and how much Willow reminds him of Sylvia. 

 

It was at this point that I wanted to throw my Kindle against the wall. What the Fuck dude? And rape as a way to further a man's character or plotline - could you not Becky? If rape is going to be in a book, a little sensitivity goes a long way - I don't think Wade has that kind of writing ability, as clearly seen by this book.

 

Meanwhile, Kathleen is still struggling to get a job with Estee Lauder and is jealous of Rose for getting married and having a baby. She has been promoted within Bradford Shipping, so her career is not at a complete stand still, but it's not NYC and Estee Lauder, so it's not her dreams. Rose still has to emotionally hold up Kathleen, even though she could use some support from a BFF herself. Margaret wants Kathleen to stay away from Garner, as he has an illegitmate kid and now a dead wife - obviously, he is bad news. But Margaret also wants grandchildren already, and her daughter is not doing her duty to the family. Followed by more random bible quotes.

 

Kathleen is now 26 years old and is still acting like a 19 year old. Can't stand female characters that show no growth until they are with the hero, but that is exactly Kathleen's whole character arc so far.

 

Garner's dad dies from a sudden heart attack and Garner becomes CEO. He realizes the company is in real bad shape (so much that the company is of little value to would be investors or buyers). He creates a task force (which includes Kathleen, who has by this time developed a serious crush on Garner) to find any and all ways to fix the company. Long hours spent together lead Garner and Kathleen to fall in love/infatuation; there is no chemistry because of the epistolary style of writing. Just one day, Kathleen gets up from her desk chair, walks over to Garner, and kisses him. Very professional. And just for predictable plot points, Sylvia shows up to visit her daughter and get Garner back into bed - he says no and realizes it was easy because he has feelings for Kathleen.  They marry and have a daughter, Brittany. 

 

The daughters are the heroines in the series. Book one focuses on Nora and the hero is an adoptee that was a product of a rape (again with the use of a woman's rape to further a man's story). Book two focuses on Willow, who repetitively uses the "I'm illegitmate" to define herself. Book three is about Brittany and whatever neurosis she has from being the daughter of Garner and Kathleen, which means lots of therapy I hope. 

 

I won't read anything else by this author.