Happy February! Before we talk blended family, I wanted to thank everyone for their kind messages and prayers regarding the loss of my mom. We’re still in a state of shock, to be expected, and both my sister and I are overwhelmed with the business side of the transition. It’s been hard to focus on much else. I appreciate the continued prayer.
When I was a little girl, I remember playing Barbies and acting out my fantasy wedding. As I grew, I imagined my husband would be Shaun Cassidy. Of course, as an adult, my reality was much better than my little girl dreams.
It also was different.
Back then, we tended to dream about the husband, the kids, the house, the dog, the white picket fence. What I never thought about was what if the husband came with kids?
That was my reality.
Of the many titles I can be described as, I am a step-mom. Although the kids didn’t live with us, and we didn’t share the stereotypical bitter relationship of step-mom and kids, it was a scenario I didn’t picture. Now the kids are adults who are both married with kids of their own. We laugh about those first meetings and the trouble the kids and I enjoyed finding. Good times for sure.
My own experience transitioned to my fiction writing with Entangled. Carla was a single mom with a teen son, Noah. Will Marshall loved both of them, but Carla was hesitant at best. She was afraid of getting hurt again, or even worse, hurting Will. Their hits and misses played out throughout Entangled and Engaged, and I was proud to feature an unconventional pairing.
Speaking of unconventional, I’m at it again. Not only am I introducing a new family, they are the Hart sextuplets. Right from the beginning the reader learns that the six siblings lost their mother at age seven. Fast forward and their dad has married their neighbor, one of the many volunteers who helped the family over the years.
What I love about the blended family dynamic in Anchored Hearts is the new marriage brings conflict. Jordyn Hart, the oldest of the sextuplets, likes to think she’s in control. She’s kept the family together for years, so why does her dad need Shelly, anyway? What Jordyn can’t see is the wisdom their new step-mom brings to the entire Hart family, as well as fill a gap their dad was especially missing. Shelly has a delicate job holding her ground as Paul Hart’s bride, but loving the Hart Six through their pain. It’s a sub-plot to Jordyn’s surrender story I love exploring.
Have you read the Anchored Hearts preview? I’d love for you to check it out.
What do you think? Do you like second marriages in inspy romance? Instant/Blended families? I’d love to hear what you think.
My condolences on the loss of your mother.
The loss of someone, whether death or divorce, creates the opportunity for creating new relationships and families. Growing up we had many blended families, some ran more smoothly than others. My aunt told one of the new cousins about how lucky she was as she was chosen to join the family (as opposed to our parents who simply got whoever popped out). She called them children of our hearts and the name holds to this day. Such a beautiful term to include them as being part of the family.
Julie Arduini says
Children of our hearts. What a beautiful sentiment. Thank you for sharing that! Thank you also for your sympathies. Blessings to you.
Paula Marie says
I love blended families….so weird, but I grew up thinking I’d marry a man with children and be a ln instant mom!
Julie Arduini says
I love that! I know too many who married ino a situation like mine and resented it. That makes me sad. Thanks so much for reading!
I love reading of blended families, because it’s true to life. We aren’t perfect, marriages aren’t perfect, and I like to see how Christian authors use that create families that get along. There are some great blended families, just as there are some not so great, and some great non-blended and some not so great, too. Every blended family isn’t the Brady Bunch, and I like to see how the parents adapt to all of the changes along with the kids/teens/YA. I haven’t read the preview, but I’m going to check it out now!! I continue to pray for you and your family as we adapt to our new normals.
Julie Arduini says
Thank you, Trudy! You truly have been an encourager, and I appreciate that. I am so excited to preview Anchored Hearts while I navigate the delay. The blended aspect has been fun to write because they are adults and Jordyn can’t handle change. As adults each sibling will have to face how their mom’s death impacted them. Jordyn is definitely not happy, and that will produce conflict. Have a great week!
I am a fan of the single mom trope – especially if she is a widow.
Julie Arduini says
Yes, I enjoy those as well. Anchored Hearts is out of the norm as we enter their lives with one year of marriage underway, but the story will unfold. My sister is a single mom and she is definitely over my endless story ideas based on her, LOL.
Deb Galloway says
I am truly sorry for the loss of your Mom! There is something so special about a Mom that has no comparison and can be so difficult to adjust to living without.
I have not read your book yet but I do enjoy reading of second marriages and blended families. I love to read about true to life people/situations and the conflicts that arise from them. Life is messy and has a continuous string of challenges. I enjoy learning different ways people react to some of these. In a family there is no right or wrong for much and we can often benefit from having input and ideas that others choose. I think a book is a great place to lay out some ideas anyone may get suggestions from while enjoying the story itself. Reading purely for entertainment is fine and we all do that sometimes. But for me personally I prefer for a book to cause me to think and hopefully grow, especially in relationships.
I enjoy reading about blended families because I think that’s something that is probably really difficult to do well. Blending families takes so much love and patience, especially if the step-parents and biological parents don’t choose to get along for the sake of the kids. It makes for good stories either way though.
Tina R says
I am so sorry for your loss, Julie. Sending prayers.
I love reading books about Instant/Blended families.
Margaret Bunce says
Julie, so sorry about your mum. I lost my mum when 28, but God’s grace gave me a loving mother in law whom I cherished.
Entangled sounds awesome. I will have to find it! I am sure the Hart stories will all be great, too.
I think reading about blended families is really interesting and fun.
Mary Preston says
Blended families add another dimension to stories. I like that.
I think one of my favorite troupes is when a widow/widower finds love again. It’s especially fun if their adult kids played matchmaker! :-)
I’ve read many stories of blended families: step-kids, adopted kids, uncles or aunts who gain guardianship of nieces or nephews due to a death in the family, etc. There’s all kinds of families out there and for many varied reasons. There’s not much I don’t like to read about when it comes to stories about families :-) I say, the more the merrier!
Alicia Haney says
I am so sorry for the loss of your mom. I love stories with blended families I love reading of how they get along with each other and everything that goes with blended families. I love second chance stories. Thank you so much for sharing about your book. Have a Great rest of the week and stay safe. God Bless you and your family.
Lelia (Lucy) Reynolds says
Blended families are lots of work so I enjoy them if it is realistic.
So sorry for your loss.
Family dynamics and kids make interesting plots in books.
Priscila Perales says
I’m so sorry for your loss.
And I love reading about different family dynamics. As long as the writing is good and the romance is kept clean, I’m game ;) Will check out the preview.
I’m so sorry for your loss!
I like reading about a blended family.
SARAH TAYLOR says
Julie, I am so sorry for Your loss Prayers coming for You and Family I Love Blended Families and Love reading stories about blended families. Blessings to You Have a Great Day!
Debra J Pruss says
It sounds wonderful. I was also in love with Shaun Cassidy. I had his posters all over my walls. I read all the Hardy Boy books. I never missed an episode of the series. How fun to go back to the past.
As the years have passed in my life, I have found that there are more blended marriages. My Dad has been married twice since my parents became divorced. In the last marriage, I had three step siblings. I was never accepted by them or acknowledged. We are all adults. Life can be challenging. I am so glad that the Lord loves us and is there for us even when the world turns their back.
I think I struggle when reading about conflict within the family, blended, adopted or otherwise, because it comes close to my own worst fears. Those close relationships can be a source of deep blessing or a source of deep hurt. So, having that as background, I enjoy blended family stories where there are hopeful endings. Happy ones are even better! :)
Natalya Lakhno says
I enjoy reading of blended families…my friend with three daughters married a man with six children and they had one together :) maybe a story for the book!
Sonnetta Jones says
I like reading about a blended family. It takes work to be patient as everyone learn to adjust to new roles and boundaries in the relationship. You have to decide at the forefront what you are willing to do and not do.
Lori R says
I like to read about second marriages and blended families. I guess that’s why I enjoyed The Brady Bunch so much! LOL
I’m the one that “came with kids” in my marriage. My husband coached every team and loved my boys like his own. Not only was he amazing, but his parents have been amazing and supportive of all of us.
For me, remarriage and blended families really depend on how it’s done and how the various relationships are portrayed. Even if an ex is worthy of being bashed, I never like seeing that happen in front of young kids. Things like that really matter to me when reading stories with blended families.