The Family We’re Born With by Kaje Harper ~ Review by Ulysses


Title: The Family We Are Born With

Author: Kaje Harper

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the Publisher:

Jesse Calhoun met Devin Palmer five years ago, in front of a Christmas tree at a friend’s party. It was Jesse’s first holiday alone, away from home. Devin didn’t have much of a home to go back to. They found a way to make the season brighter, together.

Four years ago, Jesse brought Devin to his parents’ house and came out to them. It wasn’t all roses, but his family came around, and Devin has spent each holiday with the Calhouns since then. Jesse really loves sharing Christmas with his family, and sharing his family with Devin.

So he isn’t prepared to hear his mom say, “I don’t want Devin to come to the house for Christmas Eve this year.” Suddenly it’s not smooth sailing, keeping peace with the family he was born with.

My View

I don’t usually give five star reviews.

I am a fan of Kaje Harper’s books, so take that as a warning.

I’m also a middle-aged gay man who really doesn’t need sex scenes in his romances. Just saying. But I do need love, and all the mess that goes with it. Kaje always gives us the love we need.

This is a particularly well-crafted and balanced novella – really sort of an ultra-long story. The central couple is Jesse and Devin, but they’re not really all that matters here, which is why I liked it so much. Jesse’s parents are Gayle and Lloyd, and his younger sister is Emily. For the last several years, it’s been a warm, accepting family, in which the all-but-orphaned Devin feels he’s found something missing in his life, especially at Christmas.

But this year Sam has turned up. Sam is the thirty-one-year-old ex-marine that Gayle gave up for adoption when she sixteen and scared. In her anxiety and desire to present her long-lost child with the kind of family she couldn’t give him as a baby, she hurts Jesse by asking Devin to stay away for Christmas Eve, when Sam is scheduled to arrive and meet his newly-found family. This is no spoiler: it’s all on the first page.

And while this tale is indeed about Jesse’s anger and Devin’s reaction to this temporary prohibition, it’s also about Sam, the half-brother. For Sam has a secret, and one that worries him as much as Gayle’s need to hide her son’s boyfriend worries Jesse.

Family is important to me, and I’ve been blessed with a wonderful family. Christmas is the time when family is both more necessary and more troublesome than at any other time of the year. Kaje Harper’s touching tale of Christmas love and caring is perfect for any time of year.

Buy Links:


This review is based on a copy owned by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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