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No Longer Strangers

Second novel in the Huntington series

When zoologist Mitch Huntington agreed to be named in his best friends' will as guardian to their daughter, Emily Jane, he was sure it meant nothing more than pony rides, presents on birthdays, and an occasional day at the circus. Instead he finds himself up to his elbows in diapers and soggy oatmeal. While Mitch soon discovers that animal care and baby care are not the same thing, he quickly becomes totally devoted to the adorable little girl.

But Cory Steele, Emily Jane's estranged aunt, will stop at nothing to rescue her niece from the clutches of this single Mormon man—even if it means pretending to join his strange church in order to gain his trust . . . and seize custody of the baby.

Is Cory deceiving herself as much as she's trying to deceive Mitch? What's really in her heart? And what's best for Emily Jane?

You've met Mitch's sister Amanda and read her gripping tale in the best-selling novel Winter Fire. Now Mitch's story will tug at your heartstrings as it explores the nature of commitment and selfless love.

What Others Are Saying

I loved this book it was a really great piece of advice for me to follow. This book will teach you many new things, especially about children. I loved this book and I hope that you love it too.
  —Savanah Teichert of Cokeville, WY
Loved this book. It had some new and interesting issues, things I've never read about in LDS fiction. With Rachel's gift for romance and creating characters we can't help but root for—the story is told exactly as it ought to be. It was real, full of wonderful conflict and had a perfect resolution. I can't wait for the third book in this series!!
  —Josi S. Kilpack, author of To Have or To Hold
The target audience is LDS families. I think that anyone would enjoy reading this book. It speaks to adults as well as teenagers. The main topics include adoption, conversion, and commitment. The story is about a bachelor, Mitch, whose best friends, Lane and Ashley, are killed in a boating accident leaving their 13-month-old daughter, Emily Jane. Mitch is named as her guardian and without knowing of the accident or the deaths of his friends, he is awakened one morning to find the attorney and baby waiting outside his home. In his instant role as a parent we learn of his struggles to get Emily Jane to sleep through the night and to eat something besides paper. The sudden appearance of Ashley's estranged sister, Cory, causes problems in that Cory wants to take full custody of her niece but is not a member of the LDS church and her work as a photographer in the Amazon doesn't assure Mitch that Emily Jane will have the kind of stable family life that her parents intended for her.

Since I have read many books I thought I knew how the plot was going to go and that I had the ending figured out, but I was a bit off the mark. The story is delightful and well written. It is the first of Nunes' books that I have ever read and I look forward to reading more of her work.

  —M. McQuarrie of WA
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Author's Comments

This book was so fun to write. Not only did I get to learn a lot about the Amazon and share my son's peculiar allergy to cold, but I got to write some tense and witty conversation from the point of a non-believer. I also had the opportunity to investigate family relationships that have broken down and how that has affected people after they leave home. Also, the question came up: Does a blood connection necessarily mean one person is more equipped to love and raise a child? Is membership in the Church a more important quality? What if someone is a believer but doesn't live up to Church standards?

Discussion Questions for No Longer Strangers:

1. What was Mitch Huntington's reaction to becoming Emily Jane's guardian? In what ways was he prepared for the responsibility? In what ways wasn't he prepared?

2. Were you impressed with Mitch's family? How did they help him through the initial adjustment? How important should family be during life's challenges?

3. How did Cory Steele's relationship with her family differ from Mitch's? How did her family color her view of the Church?

4. At the beginning of the story, Mitch and Cory have very different life goals. What are they?

5. What did you enjoy most about the scene at the dam when Cory was trying so futilely to impress Mitch? Had you ever heard of anyone being allergic to cold? (Read the dedication to see who the author knows with this condition!)

6. Mitch and Cory both love Emily Jane deeply and want what is best for her. We are often torn between two positives as we see the depth of their desire and commitment. Who do you feel is better qualified to raise Emily Jane—Mitch or Cory? Why? Would your opinion be different if both were members of the Church?

7. At one point in the story, Cory has three major realizations:

    a. that she can't go through with her pretend conversion and baptism because the gospel might actually be true;

    b. she feels more than friendship toward Mitch;

    c. that Mitch might just be the better parent for Emily Jane.

How do these realizations affect her actions? How are the first two realizations connected? Is it wise to be baptized only to please someone you love?

8. How do you feel about Cory's choice to return to the Amazon? Have you or anyone you know ever had to make a similar choice?

9. Discuss Cory's conversion and the transformation of her life's goals. How important was the setting and its solitude for her conversion? How has your testimony of the gospel helped you choose a more rewarding path?

10. What was your favorite part of the novel? Why?

Thanks for participating in this discussion. I hope you enjoyed Mitch and Cory's story as much as I loved writing it! If you have questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me.

Have a great day,
Rachel Ann Nunes

Sample Chapter

Mitch Huntington groaned as the sound of the doorbell sliced into his unconscious thoughts. Reluctantly, he swam through the murky waters of sleep an  (more...)

Where to Buy

Softcover Tradeback $14.95 suggested retail price.
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General Info

Deseret Book, Softcover Tradeback, Romance, 294 pages.
First printing in August 2005
ISBN 1-59038-475-X Type other info here