Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bookish Thoughts: Evergreen Springs by RaeAnne Thayne

She supposed that particular state of affairs wasn't necessarily a bad thing in her current role as substitute attending physician at the Lake Haven Hospital emergency department. ~ Opening of Evergreen Springs


Evergreen Springs (Haven Point #3) by RaeAnne Thayne
Harlequin Books, 2015
Romance; 384 pgs

From Goodreads:
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?

I do not think I have ever read as many holiday-themed books as I have this year. I thought Evergreen Springs by RaeAnne Thayne would be a good place to stop. Sort of coming full circle since it was RaeAnne Thayne's A Cold Creek Christmas Story which started off my holiday-themed reading in the first place. Evergreen Springs and A Cold Creek Christmas Story have some similarities, both about single fathers raising children who have just lost their mothers. In both cases, the fathers are devoted to their children and a bit rough around the edges.

I admit I worried a bit at first that the two books would be too similar, but I had nothing to worry about. The two novels were different enough from one another, as were the characters. In Evergreen Springs, Cole Barrett is stretched very thin. His sister, who had been helping him out, is stuck in the hospital on bed rest, pregnant with twins and with a sprained ankle. He's already been through two housekeepers. His two children only just moved in a short time ago and are still acclimating to their new home, life and the loss of their mother. Add to that work obligations to which Cole must keep because his business is still new and getting off the ground. He is not the kind of person who would ask for help, but he recognizes he cannot say no when Dr. Devin Shaw, his sister's childhood friend, steps in to do just that, seeing a family in need.

Devin is a caring family doctor who would go out of her way to help any of her patients, however, she's never felt as strong a pull to them as she does to Cole and his children. She finds herself volunteering to watch the children while Cole is out of town and arranges for the community to pitch in with meals and such. The children adore her as she does them. Plus, there's no denying (although she tries to) to the growing attraction she feels toward their cowboy father.  Cole doesn't think he is good enough for someone like Devin, not with a past like his. Devin has her own reservations--and her own secret (although I'm not sure it really is a secret--she just doesn't talk about it), which she keeps close to her vest.

Both Cole and Devin are characters with pretty heavy baggage. I appreciated the way the author dealt with all of that. While there is drama, it isn't over the top drama. Cole is in a difficult place in his life, unable to let go of his past, while at the same time trying to make a better life for himself and his children. Devin finds it easiest to lose herself in her work and avoids getting too close to people--at least she did until she meets Cole and his children. I really came to care for both of them and was rooting for them to have a happy ending.

I also came to care for Ty and Jazmin, Cole's young children. Both Ty and Jazmin are very different from one another and have been through a lot. Thayne was very sensitive to their grief and lifestyle before they came to live with their father. It was so obvious they were in need of attention and love, and it was no wonder, really, that they grew attached to Devin so quickly under the circumstances. There is also Cole's father, Stan, who Cole has such strong feelings about. I wanted so much for Cole to let go of his anger and ease up on his stubbornness, even if only to talk to his father.

While at first I had my doubts about Evergreen Springs, I quickly got over them and by the end, I was tearing up quite a bit. I finished the book with a smile on my face.  RaeAnne Thayne is definitely an author I plan to read more by in the future.


To learn more about RaeAnne Thayne and her books, please visit the author's website. You can also find the author on Facebook and Twitter.

Source: E-copy provided by publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

© 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.

12 comments:

  1. I do love holiday books but only read one this year. This sounds like another sweet one.

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    1. Kathy - It was! I had such fun reading holiday reads this year. If I do something similar next year, I want to try and fit in a holiday-themed mystery or two though, I think.

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  2. I will have to keep this in mind for next year... this was the first year I've read Holiday themed books and found it to be a pleasant surprise. Just right for this time of year! Merry Christmas to you!

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    1. Debbie - I have read holiday-themed books in the past, but not in the amount I read them this year. I kind of went crazy this year. Haha It was fun. Merry Christmas to you too!

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  3. That settles it...I just downloaded this to read today and tomorrow. It sounds like a fabulous Christmas read!

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    1. Melinda - I hope you ended up liking it! I liked A Cold Creek Christmas Story a bit better, but this one was good too.

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  4. Evergreen Springs sounds like a good one if it had you tearing up a little. The characters do sound like one you can root for.

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    1. Naida - I enjoyed it! To be fair though, it's easy to make me cry. LOL I really liked all the characters in this one.

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  5. I don't read much holidays stories, but this one looks sweet enough, and I like the "smile on my face" feeling you got :)

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    1. Iza - I love that feeling. :-) Especially this time of year.

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  6. What a great review! I really enjoyed this book too. Thayne is so good at the heartwarming romances, holiday-themed and otherwise.

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    1. Lark - Thank you! I'm glad to hear her non-holiday-themed books have the same feel to them. I really enjoyed the two books by her I read this holiday season.

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