Kids on the Doorstep

Author: Kimberly Van Meter

Publisher: Harlequin SuperRomance

Release Date: July 14, 2009

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5


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John Murphy has never been able to resist a creature in need so when his elderly neighbor shows up at his front door with three little girls near ten o’clock at night, during a storm no less, he takes them into his home.  After learning of the children’s plight his protective instincts kick in and he vows that no harm will come to them again and he sets about ensuring that he has the legal right to protect them.

Renee Dolling is determined to get her children back.  She’s well aware that she made some major mistakes and felt that her stint in rehab would help get her life back on track.  She certainly never thought that her soon to be ex-husband would have abused and then abandoned them with his elderly aunt.  She’s horrified to learn that she’s lost custody of them and will have to go through the courts if she has any hopes of getting them back.  Even more devastating is the distrust and hatred she can feel radiating off her eldest daughter Alexis.


While Gladys has been designated as Alexis, Chloe and Taylor’s guardian there’s no way she could care for them herself since she’s recently gone through triple bypass surgery.  Gladys and the girls are staying with John and he quickly becomes their champion when the girls’ mother arrives unexpectedly demanding her children back.  As far as he’s concerned she abandoned her kids when she left them with her abusive husband Jason.  He doesn’t care what her reasoning for her behavior is… those children’s welfare has to come first. 


Renee isn’t going to tolerate being kept from her kids and she’s ready, willing and able to confront anyone who dares to try to deny her rights to them.  Of course, her defiant attitude and smart mouth comments definitely don’t help her cause any.  Renee and John are united in one cause – doing what’s best for these babies but they have different ideas about what is best for them.  John’s dislike of Renee slowly fades as he realizes that there’s much more to the woman than he wants to admit and the whole situation becomes even more complicated when he realizes that he loves the girls and doesn’t want them – or their mother to leave.


I’ve become rather fond of Kimberly Van Meter’s Emmett’s Mill storylines.  The characters and their situations are so vivid and realistic that they simply touch your heart.  With her latest release, Ms. Van Meter gives readers great insight into the effects of drug and alcohol abuse and how it affects those about them.  Renee’s desire to be a real mother to her daughters is obvious in everything she does – including her stint in rehab.  That she left her daughters with her husband while she was in detox was her biggest mistake.

John comes off as gruff at first but it soon becomes obvious that he’s a big softy especially where the girls and abused animals are concerned.  John and Renee’s relationship is fiery right from the bat, but it changes from an intense dislike to something far more passionate as they come to understand more about each other.  I love that Ms. Van Meter mentions characters we met in earlier Emmett’s Mill books so that each new story involving this town makes it feel more real and as if they’re treasured friends you’re fortunate enough to revisit.   KIDS ON THE DOORSTEP is a heart-touching story that delves deep into all the emotional turmoil felt by those affected by drug and/or alcohol addiction.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Chrissy Dionne

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