Published: September 29, 2015
Genre: Romance (Holiday)
Source: Personal Copy
You might enjoy this book if you like: Christmas stories, love stories, small town romances
Christmas is the last thing Cole Barrett is thinking about this year. He's barely hanging on trying to care for his two grieving children since his ex-wife died in a tragic accident. For the reclusive Cole, this is no time for gift-giving and celebration—and certainly not for a sunny-natured optimist to blow into his screwed-up life.
In the years since her cancer treatments, physician Devin Shaw has researched the curative powers of Lake Haven's mineral waters. Unfortunately, the hot springs are on Barrett property, forcing Devin to strike a bargain with the ranch's attractively gruff owner: she'll give Cole's children the magical Christmas they deserve, and Cole will allow her patients access to the springs. But can she work her holiday magic to heal the Barrett family's battered hearts—and her own?
Before I get into my thoughts on this book, I need to confess that I read this from December 24-25, 2015 (and, yes, I know that this review is going live 11 months later....it just didn't make any sense to publish a review of a Christmas book in February!)
There is something comforting about a Christmas story, especially if a romance. You know it will end happily and Christmassy, and what is better than that? This is one of those books that, if you go into it with that mindset, you will not be disappointed. It definitely rang all the Christmas bells for me and it was a delightful book to read over the holiday.
Even though the reader will know (because it is a Holiday romance novel), that everything will end well, Thayne does an admirable job of making sure there is enough conflict to keep readers guessing and interested, but not so much that the book becomes stressful. I really enjoyed Cole as a character--she dealt both with is current situation, suddenly a single-dad of two, as well as his checkered past. I felt his emotions and reactions were right on point and, honestly, he was my main hook for this story.
One heads up about this book: it is the 3rd in the series. I didn't read the first two books and I had no problem following the story, but I also always had the feeling that I was missing something. Reading books out of order in a series is a huge pet peeve of mine, and I did know going in that this was #3, so I can't fault the book. However, I probably would have been a bit more comfortable, for lack of a better word, if I had read the first 2 books first.
Now, if I have to complain--and, let's face it, Christmas makes complaints invalid--my one issue would be that Devin's character is just too perfect. Seriously, there is not a flaw to be found on this woman (and, no, "cancer survivor is not a flaw!)...which is forgivable if you look at it through a holiday lens. However, it would be an issue I couldn't overlook otherwise. Main characters should have at least some sort of imperfection.
Ultimately, this book was a wonderful Christmas Eve/Christmas afternoon reading experience. Sometimes you just have to let a book take you where it takes you, and this is an excellent vehicle for that.
I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.