Title: And Then I Found You
Author: Patti Callahan Henry
No. of Pages: 272
Bottom Line: Lovely and heart-wrenching about the ultimate sacrifice a mother could make and its lasting repercussions.
“Katie Vaughan is no stranger to tough choices.She’s made them before. Now it’s time to do it again.Kate has a secret, something tucked away in her past. And she’s getting on with her life. Her business is thriving. She has a strong relationship with her family, and a devoted boyfriend whom she wants to love with all her heart. If Kate had ever made a list, Rowan would fill the imagined boxes of a perfect mate. She wants the facts to move from her head toward her heart and settle in with deep love, something past admiration and comfort. But when Kate discovers the small velvet box hidden in Rowan’s drawer, she panics.It always happens this way. Just when Kate thinks she can love, just when she believes she can conquer the fear, she’s filled with dread. And she wants more than anything to make this feeling go away. But how?When the mistakes have been made and the running is over, it’s time to face the truth. Kate knows this. She understands that a woman can never undo what can never be undone. Yet, for the first time in her life she also knows that she won’t fully love until she confronts those from her past. It’s time to act.Can she do it? Can she travel to the place where it all began, to the one who shares her secret? Can the lost ever become found?”
Thoughts: In Patti Callahan Henry’s And Then I Found You, Katie Vaughn is the type of girl who seemingly has it all. She has a job that she adores and which allows her to make her own schedule. She has the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that set the foundation for the type of woman she would become. Her past experiences have made a profound difference in the lives of others. She has a close-knit family, her health, friends. Normally, this type of heroine would be thoroughly annoying, as everything in her life is just a bit too cute and endearingly quirky. However, it is a testament to Ms. Henry that she is anything but annoying. She may make irritating decisions, and her lack of decision-making skills may feel contrived. Yet, there is a fragility to Katie, even before a reader understands the pain and anguish over her biggest decision, that makes it easy to ignore the annoyances.
As for the big sacrifice, it really is as powerful and painful as one might imagine. The idea of placing a baby into adoption when she is wanted and loved may seem foreign, but Katie’s reasons for doing so make perfect sense even as they rip out one’s heart at her self-sacrifice. Ms. Henry’s personal history as it pertains to Katie’s decision makes its impact felt in the crystal-clear understanding a reader has of her anguish, confusion, and guilt as well as the conflicted emotions of her family.
And Then I Found You is as much a novel about love as it is about sacrifice, but it is in its analysis of self-love wherein the story truly shines. For it is not until Katie truly learns to love herself and let go of her past torments where things finally click into place for her. She is helped in part by the unconditional love of her family and the searching love brought by Luna, but it is Katie’s own discoveries and growth that drives her ability to recover and seek answers. This growth is as much as joy to watch unfold as the burgeoning love story because of the aforesaid fragility that Katie initially exhibits. It is an absolute joy to watch Katie discover her own happily ever after, even if it is not what she or the reader first envisioned.
And Then I Found You is as much of an emotional roller coaster as one would expect, yet it is at no point in time manipulative or overly dramatic. Katie’s story, seen in flashbacks, is simply told, but the emotional toil is profound. Her simplistic verbiage presents a clearer image of the anguish of Katie’s sacrifice than could ever have been created through more poetic wording. The same holds true for the entire novel and the range of emotions roiling through Kate. Ms. Henry lets the story speak for itself, without flooding a reader with unnecessary dialogue or imagery, and the story is so much better for it.