Fear, Hope, and Bread Pudding by Marie Sexton (4 Stars)

Very touching, emotionally-charged story about two men who desperately want to adopt a child.

Jon Kechter and his husband, Cole Fenton, want to bring a child into their family. Cole is struggling with his desire to grow his family, but frustrated that he doesn’t have any true control over accomplishing it. At the same time, Cole is dealing with his mother who apparently wants to try to be part of his life again.

The majority of the story is told from Jon’s point of view. However, there is a brief period where Jon’s father shares his views. Jon is a pretty straightforward, simple character whereas Cole is much more lively and entertaining. Although their relationship was already established in “Strawberries for Dessert”, I would have liked to have seen more of their interactions as a couple. Too often it felt like Cole didn’t fully share himself with Jon. The beginning was a bit maudlin since Cole was always upset and on the verge of depression. The majority of the story was spent watching them live through the stressful ups and down of the adoption process.

There was also quite a bit of drama as we got to know Cole’s mother better and watch them interact with each other. As Jon and Cole got closer to reaching their dreams, it was easier to get lost in the emotions of the story. I certainly shed quite a few tears for both happy and sad moments. Although this can be read on its own, I think it’s much more enjoyable if you read the entire “CODA” series so that you really understand where all of the characters are coming from.

I recommend this beautiful heartfelt story that engages the heart and mind.


Originally reviewed for The Romance Reviews. Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.


Families should grow, not shrink. It’s been on Jon Kechter’s mind since before he tied the knot with his millionaire lover, Cole Fenton. Now hoping to adopt, Jon and Cole search for a mother-to-be willing to let them love her baby, but the interminable wait is wearing on them both.

Jon is close to his father, George, but until Cole, he didn’t have anyone else. Now George is pushing Cole to reconcile with his estranged mother. When the three of them spend Christmas with her in Munich, the results are disastrous. Jon and Cole resolve to stay positive, but no hope exists without a tinge of fear. Jon and Cole can’t help but wonder if their dream of being parents just wasn’t meant to be.

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