Review: Challenged by You by Tracey Jerald

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Trina Paxton is a struggling single mom trying to survive in NYC on a pastry chef’s minimal salary while raising her two year old twins. An editing mix up with a review by an extremely pretentious food critic gets her fired, but that reviewer realizes the mistake and makes sure she gets her job back.  When he comes to apologize to her for the mix up, she really lets him have it.  He clearly had no idea that the cruelty of his review had major ramifications – the chef whose food he casually derided could be struggling to feed their family too.  And Jonas’ offhand cruelty while critiquing that person’s food could have huge consequences.

Jonas takes her words to heart.  While he has been financially very comfortable for a long time, he was raised by a single mother who died while he was a small child.  As a result, seeing Trina with her kids, and hearing how hard she had to fight to keep them when their father tried to take them away from her, brings up feelings in Jonas that he has ignored for many years.

At first, the fact that Trina reminds him of his mother is a wonderful thing, and it brings Jonas closer to her.  But when Trina is involved in a minor accident that could have been much worse, Jonas freaks out – worried about losing her.

They each have to struggle through their fears of being abandoned again.  Jonas felt abandoned when his mother died, and Trina was literally abandoned by a father that left, and a mother who was physically there but who blamed her for her father’s actions. Her mother never showed any care or love for Trina at all – leaving her very alone.

Trina challenges Jonas at every turn, which he comes to love.  She doesn’t let him get away with anything.  And until his freak-out , Jonas is nothing but trustworthy and supportive, showing her that perhaps taking a chance on love is worth the risk. In the end, they are able to find their way through their fears, and they get the very happy ending they deserve.  Challenged by You is a sweet story.  Jonas is a swoony hero who is just flawed enough to  be believable, and Trina is a sweetie you’d want to have drinks with after a long day at work.   It’s a fairly low-angst story, which I always appreciate.  Definitely highly recommended!

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