Jessica's Wish*

Young Girl Wishes for a Mother

The fourth installment of the Stonehill series starts the title of the book, a wish made by Phil’s daughter, Jessica, for a mother. Jessica has grown up since the first book in the series; she is now eleven. She has never known her biological mother, who left them when she was a baby because the woman couldn’t handle having a Down syndrome child.

If you read the first book in the Stonehill series, you are familiar with Phil and Jessica as well as with Phil’s mother, Kara. Part of the enjoyment of this book came from seeing Kara and Harry’s new life together as a married couple up close. They are deeply in love and are trying to care for an infant of a mother who has nearly abandoned her to them.

Mallory has come back to the area. While in San Diego, she couldn’t stop thinking of her mother, Annie, and all that Marcus was doing to support her. So she quit her job and moved back so she could help her mother and the man whom she sees as a father figure. Mallory becomes reacquainted with Jessica and Phil, and soon Kara thinks that Mallory could be the perfect woman for Phil and a mothering influence for Jessica as she approaches her teen years.

What will Annie and Marcus think about Mallory’s return to town? What about Mallory’s career? Will romantic sparks fly between Mallory and Phil? Will Jessica get her wish?

I enjoyed having a more in-depth story that focused on Phil. He was an interesting character in his mother’s story (book one of the series), but you knew he had to have one, too, since he has such a complex backstory as well as a challenging present as a single father raising a special needs child. He and Mallory share similarities in their pasts; neither had a father in their life growing up. The characters are very supportive of each other, and Phil helps Mallory understand the difficulties she is having adjusting to the changes in her mother’s life.

Phil’s struggle about whether to trust another woman in his and Jessica’s lives seems realistic, even if it is hard to read when you so want him just to wake up and realize what he’d be missing!

I liked that seeing Phil through Mallory’s eyes gives us a completely different perspective of him than the first book where we only see Phil through his own thoughts and actions. Phil is a man who has struggled and continues to struggle with his relationship with his mother as he sees himself as being so different from her. At times when reading about him—both in this book and in the first one—I have felt frustrated with his lack of understanding and compassion for his mother, who did her best to raise him under challenging circumstances. But through Mallory’s eyes, we can see that he has inherited compassion and kindness from his mother, whether he would own it or not!

As this book deals very closely with characters and events from books one and three of the series, I would not consider it to be a standalone book. But all the books in the series are incredible, so I would recommend them all anyway, whether needed for this story or not. Once again, Marcy Bolden has delivered a story that packs an emotional punch. These characters suffer and struggle in ways that are easy to understand and empathize with. I love the way this tight-knit group supports each other. I hope there is much more in store for the people in Stonehill.