Nathan is in the woods early one October morning, heading out with his faithful dog to go duck hunting. Sadie bounds away from him and starts scratching at the leaves on the forest floor. Sadie is a good dog and this is totally unlike her, so Nathan goes to check out what she's found. It's a newborn, obviously abandoned to die in the woods. Nathan realizes the infant is actually still alive and rushes him to the hospital. He feels compelled to adopt the child, but a grandmother comes forward to take him in instead.
Fifteen years later, Nat (named for the man who found him) has become more trouble than his grandmother can handle. He just seems angry at the world. Nathan steps in to care for the teen, who is puzzled by this stranger who does so much for him.
I find Catherine Ryan Hyde's books refreshing in that they are ultimately about hope and the innate goodness we humans do have. There is some darkness in the story, but I love that she chooses to portray people at their best. And she does this without getting all sappy. I love me some hope; I gag over sugary sweetness.
I loved Nathan. He's quiet and reserved and probably comes off as distant to most of his acquaintances. Being a quiet and reserved girl myself, I can relate. But he's just deeply good. Like Matthew Cuthbert good. He doesn't react blindly to any situation he finds himself or Nat in. He steps back, thinks for a little while, and then tries to find the best advice or course of action. He understands that everyone needs to get a fair chance, so he lets Nat start with a clean slate. And as long as Nat seems to be learning from his mistakes, he keeps caring for him, physically and emotionally.
The story did not go where I thought it would. At one point it seemed like a fairly predictable underdog story, but it went in a different direction completely. I was very pleased with it.
This is the part where I want to get into the "moral of the story as I see it," but that would get into some vague spoilers, so I won't go there. It's not anything preachy, but it is something that I think we all need to be reminded of from time to time.
I do recommend this if you're looking for a book that will give you some hope in humanity. I think we all need a little of that from time to time.
Thanks to the author for giving me a copy for review.
Find author Catherine Ryan Hyde on her website, her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
Read another review at Musings of a Bookish Kitty.
If you liked When I Found You, you might also like Second Hand Heart by Catherine Ryan Hyde.
Buy When I Found You at Better World Books.
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