Monday, December 14, 2015

Bookish Thoughts: Christmas in Vermont by Bryan Mooney

It was two weeks before Christmas, but in the desert kingdom, it still felt like a hot, scorching summer afternoon as the young teacher finished yet another day at school. ~ Opening of Christmas in Vermont


Christmas in Vermont: A Very White Christmas by Bryan Mooney
Lake Union Publishing, 2015
Romance; 178 pgs

Snow and I do not get along, but after reading about Christmas in Vermont, particularly in Woodstock, I am ready to pack my bags and head in that direction. I just might need a much warmer coat. And some earmuffs. The tight knit community and the wide range of activities just make me wish I could be a part of it all too.  I never felt cold while reading Bryan Mooney's book, despite the snow.

This short novel opens with Hope Caldwell on the run as jihadists shoot to kill. A U.S. Marine, Jack Reynolds, comes to her rescue. The two do not quite make it out unscathed, but they survive. Several years later, Hope takes a job as a substitute teacher in the little town of Woodstock, Vermont--the place she swore she'd visit after Jack regaled her with stories about Christmas there as they lay clinging to life in the desert. Although Jack had always hoped to run into Hope again, he had not expected to find her in his hometown while home for a visit with the aunt and uncle who raised him. The two instantly connect, but it will not be easy for them. Both of them have moved on. Jack's girlfriend is pushing for a wedding, and he is still in knots over his brother who is missing in action overseas. Hope is struggling with her own issues.

I wish there was more in the way of back story for Hope and even a little more in the development of her character. I admit I didn't immediately buy into Hope and Jack's instant connection. I think I would have liked the author to have taken more time building that aspect of the story. Both Jack and Hope are rather perfect people in the scheme of things, Jack especially. He's quite an upstanding guy, and it was hard not to fall for him. His desire and effort to help the veterans in the community as well as the regular townsfolk even in the short time he plans to be in Woodstock speaks volumes.

My absolute favorite part of this book was when Jack finds an old mailbag full of mail that had been forgotten from the year before. He and Hope set out to deliver the mail, mostly Christmas cards. Each of the cards turn out to mean something quite special to each of the recipients. There are some heart warming moments as the letters are read. I have a friend who swears by e-cards in this modern era, and I really cannot blame her. But I have to say, these scenes in Christmas Vermont only solidify how much I value and appreciate those traditional Christmas cards that come in the mail each year.

I could not help but feel I was transported back in time as I read Christmas in Vermont. The gentleness and kindness of the people and the way they talked reminded me of the past more than it did modern times, despite the contemporary setting.

This is a sweet story, definitely in the feel good Christmas vein, nothing too serious.  I can see why Jack went on and on about Christmas in Vermont. It truly is magical. Now to look for my gloves. I can't possibly spend Christmas in Vermont with cold hands.

To learn more about Bryan Mooney and his books, please visit the author's website

Source: I received an e-copy of this book for an honest review from the publisher via NetGalley.


© 2015, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

10 comments:

  1. Whilst we haven't had a white Christmas here for a few years I cannot imagine Christmas in the sunshine.

    I've seen this particular book on a few blogs now and like yourself everyone seems to rate it. Definitely one I'll make a note of, thank you.

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    1. Tracy - Sunny Christmases are quite common place where I live, although we still get cold weather. A snowy one would be foreign to us, I think.

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  2. I don't like snow either but I do like books like this during the holidays.

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    1. Kathy - I do too! I think the snow adds to the atmosphere of these types of novels.

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  3. This sounds delightful! Except for the bit about Jack already having a girlfriend. As for Vermont, I've never spent Christmas there, but it's charming in the summer as well.

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    1. Lark - Fortunately that was a relationship on its way out from the start of the novel. I would love to visit Vermont in the summer as well. And in the fall. :-)

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    2. I would dearly love to go see the fall colors, but that's a trip best planned months or even a year ahead (because of the difficulty of finding reservations.)

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    3. That doesn't surprise me. I imagine Vermont is very popular that time of year.

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  4. I loved Vermont when we visited and I love mail and the bit about the Christmas letters. I think I'm going to have to read this one :)

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    1. Stacy - I imagine it is quite beautiful in Vermont. And I love mail too. :-) I wish the Christmas letter deliveries had been extended a bit more in the book than they had been, but still this was a sweet book.

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