A Homecoming Mantra (The Sood Family) – ARC review

A Homecoming Mantra
by Sapna Srinivasan
Release Date: March 21, 2023
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Book #4 in The Sood Family series
Number of pages:  235
Source:  ARC from the publisher
Contemporary Romance
Ages 14 and up
He’s a great single dad, but his family decides he needs a new wife…immediately.

No one in the Sood family has divorced—ever. But when successful mystery writer Shaan Sood’s wife cheats, he files. After his ex cuts ties with both him and their daughter, he leaves India to return to his Washington hometown and raise Misha closer to family. Shaan focuses on building a stable and loving home for Misha, but his peace is shattered by his loving family’s insistence that Misha needs a mother. Shaan is done with love, but he’d be lying if he didn’t admit he can’t stop thinking about his beautiful new neighbor.

Riding instructor Claire Wellington is everything Shaan should avoid. She’s kind, intelligent, and interested in helping Misha rebuild her confidence through riding lessons. Misha falls in love with the captivating and adventurous Claire, and Shaan’s heart isn’t far behind.

But Claire has secrets, and Shaan is a man who’s built a career solving mysteries. Can he risk his and his daughter’s hearts once again?

First, how adorable is this cover? Second, the child is seven-ish in this story so the cover does not represent Shaan and Misha in current times since that is most definitely more like a toddler on the cover. But still, so cute!

Although the age seems off, the cover of this book does represent Shaan quite nicely as a devoted and thoughtful father. He’s a single father in every sense of the term. There are no visits with mom on weekends or holidays. Shaan has essentially been Misha’s only parent her whole life, even while he and her mom were still married. It’s just been officially on him alone for the last year. His whole world revolves around Misha and he doesn’t ever want to put her in a position where his actions cause her pain. One of the main reasons he hasn’t even considered dating again.

Once Shaan and Claire meet (a very cute meeting at that) it is obvious they both are feeling the chemistry, but both are adamant they do not want a romantic relationship. They cannot help but be friends, though. Claire and Misha get along beautifully, she is just as caring and kind as Shaan. I love how cautious they are with each other, not only with themselves. But there comes a time they cannot deny that there is more to them than platonic friends and once they admit that to each other they both jump in with both feet.

Here’s where I had issues with the story. Other than in the very beginning when Shaan is talking to Misha’s teacher and school counselor about her deadbeat mom RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER, Shaan is very careful with Misha and the things he shares with her. He is great at keeping his explanations and actions age appropriate while trying not to be unnecessarily deceitful. Yet once Claire and Shaan decide to date they practically move in together. Possibly it’s a confusion of the timeline because it is never expressed how much time has passed. If it’s been months and months, it should have somehow been conveyed. Otherwise, it seems as though both Shaan and Claire have completely changed their personalities when it comes to how protective they are of Misha.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable read. Not too much angst, and what angst there is can be seen coming a mile away. There is a lot of love and hope in this story.

3.5 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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