Sunday, December 22, 2019

Bookish Mewsings: More Than a Touch of Holiday Romance

Coming Home From Christmas (Haven Point, #10) by RaeAnne Thayne
HQN, 2019
Romance; 384 pgs
Source: NetGalley

This was it. ~ Opening of Coming Home for Christmas

Elizabeth and Luke had been madly in love when they got married and started a family. What they could not anticipate was the Postpartum Depression that would take so much out of Elizabeth—affecting her ability to mother as well testing her relationship with Luke. Neither of them really knew how to navigate through it. It seemed never-ending. A car accident. A brain injury. Loss of memory. Elizabeth has created a new life for herself under a different identify. At first it was because she had no idea who she was, but as time passed, her memories began to come back to her. How could she resume her old life when so much time had passed? After what she had done? As much as she loved her family, she still doubted her ability to be a good mom and wife. How could they ever forgive her?

Seven years have passed and Luke is facing a murder charge if he doesn’t produce his wife. His brother-in-law was able to track her down and now he must face her after all these years of believing she was dead. Come to find out, she had abandoned her family completely and gotten on with her life, with no regard for her children, much less him. Or so he believes. The last thing he wants to do is hurt his children more than they’ve already been hurt. It is hard to deny the attraction still between them, but how could their marriage survive what it’s been through?

RaeAnne Thayne is one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. She draws out the emotions of her characters so well. I cannot help but cry with them, feel angry alongside them, and want so much for them to find the happiness they deserve. Given the circumstances, Luke’s initial anger toward his wife is completely understandable. His grief and pain are palpable. And so is Elizabeth’s. Having suffered through Postpartum Depression myself, I could relate to some of what she had been feeling after the birth of her children, and see how it could lead her to where she was those seven years later. I do not think she always made the wisest of choices once she regained her memory, letting her fear get in the way, but imagine that was something she still needed to work through.

As always, RaeAnne Thayne hit a home run for me, and I enjoyed Coming Home For Christmas. Her characters feel so real and Haven Point sounds like such an idyllic place to live. I enjoyed this sweet romance with its heavy themes quite a bit.

One Wish: A Christmas Story by Jodi Thomas
Zebra, 2019
Romance; 100 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Sam Thompson stood in the blackened corner of the alley silently watching the mercantile across the street. ~ Opening of One Wish 

Maggie Allison took over the mercantile when her parents died and leads a relatively quiet—and lonely—life. One night just before closing, three men enter the store intent to rob it. Just as Maggie fears for her own life, in steps Sam Thompson, a local rancher, who comes to her rescue, chasing the would be thieves away. One of the thieves is none other than Boss Adler, one of the most notorious criminals in the area. With him on the loose, and Maggie being able to identify him, Sam offers to take Maggie in until Adler is caught. He lives in an isolated part of the county where even lawmen do not like to enter. While Maggie is prim and proper and well-educated, Sam is much more rough around the edges. Sam and Maggie share a past—having been friends for a short while as children, attending the same school, however went their own ways due to circumstances beyond their control.

This Old Western historical romance made for a cozy Christmas story. Maggie and Sam are somewhat reserved around each other at first, but that soon changes. Maggie knows her mind and is not afraid to speak it. I really liked Sam and his quiet ways. He has a secret he has been keeping, and Maggie is one of a very few who comes to know that secret as soon as she steps into Sam’s house. Maggie and Sam are well suited for each other, and I enjoyed my time spent with them. This novella is a sweet romance with a bit of action mixed in. I would not have minded a longer story in order to more fully develop the characters and get to know more about their lives surrounding the events in this short book.

The Christmas Keeper (Happily Ever After, #2) by Jenn McKinlay
Berkley, 2019
Romance; 318 pgs
Source; NetGalley

She had never believed in love. ~ Opening of The Christmas Keeper

Savannah Wilson is in town to rebuild her bruised and battered reputation by helping her best friend market her new bookstore. She much prefers big city living to the small town she finds herself in—although it does have its own charm, if she’s honest with herself. And there is Joaquin Solis, who she knows she must resist at all costs. He could derail all her plans. Besides, they aren’t a good fit even if Joaquin feels otherwise. When the two get wind that the bookstore might be in trouble, they agree to work together to build up publicity to turn the store’s fate around. This is Joaquin’s chance to show Savannah that their growing attraction to one another can amount to more than just a short-term fling.

You have to love a book that partly takes place in the Happily Ever After Bookstore. At least this reader has to. I have yet to read the first book in the series (you can bet I will!), but that did not hurt my enjoyment of A Christmas Keeper. It stands just find on its own. I really liked the very independent Savannah who was cheated out of her successful publicity career. She really suffered a blow when she lost her job, and is trying to get back on her feet again. Joaquin owns a horse ranch that offers horse therapy. His parents died in a terrible accident years ago, leaving him to care for his younger sister who had suffered a brain injury in the accident. It’s obvious he loves his sister very much. Family is extremely important to him. It was impossible not to fall for Joaquin. At least I would if I were in Savanah’s shoes. He is quite the catch!

In some ways, A Christmas Keeper reminded me of a Hallmark Christmas movie—only much better. It is sexy and charming with just the right amount of humor and drama to make this a fun read.

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan
Mira, 2019
Romance; 384 pgs
Source: NetGalley

When her phone rang at three in the morning, ripping her from a desperately needed sleep, Maggie's first thought was bad news. ~ Opening of A Wedding in December

I ended my holiday-themed reading with this absolute gem of a romance novel. Rose White is the youngest of two daughters. She wakes her mother up with a late night call to tell her not only that she’s engaged, but also that she plans to get married over Christmas in the Aspen, Colorado—just a few short weeks away. Maggie isn’t so sure this whirlwind wedding is a good idea. Rose has not known the groom for long. Of course Maggie will go to the wedding, as will her husband. But she’s determined not to let on to anyone that she and her husband, Nick, are planning to divorce and have not been living under the same roof for months. It would ruin the happy occasion and break their daughter's hearts. They can pretend to be happily married for their short trip to the United States for the wedding, surely. 

The White’s oldest daughter Katie has always been a bit skeptical about this thing called love. She knows Rose is making a mistake, and she plans to do what she can to talk Rose out of this silly impulsive wedding if it is the last thing she does; meanwhile hoping no one will notice the mess her life has become, how she doubts herself and kept hidden the trauma she recently suffered.

Perhaps you can imagine what comes next. Rose begins to doubt her decision to marry her adoring fianc√©, Dan, because of her sister’s doubts. There’s the gorgeous best man who sees right through Katie—and to whom she finds herself attracted to in a way she’s never felt before. Then there are Maggie and Nick, empty-nesters who have raised two beautiful daughters and who have grown apart over the years, losing the spark they once had.

Oh my gosh, how I loved this book! Lack of communication is at the heart of the novel and the cause for so much of the characters’ frustrations. If only everyone would talk to each other about what they are thinking and feeling! The novel comes at relationships from several different angles: that of sisters, mother and daughter(s), and the more romantic ones, including that of husband and wife. You also have Katie’s story dealing with the trauma and her need to forgive herself and heal. Sarah Morgan does an excellent job of putting the reader into each of the three protagonists (Rose, Maggie, and Katie) lives, and I could relate to each of them in varying ways. While all three of the women’s stories are strong, I most connected with Maggie. I love that the author included her story—love isn’t just for the young! I thoroughly enjoyed A Wedding in December—and how I would love to stay in one of those tree houses at the resort they were all staying!

I want to wish you all a Happy Holiday season. 
May the New Year bring you much 
love, laughter, and the makings of happy memories. 

© 2019, 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.


  1. They all sound like the perfect holiday reads! I hoped they managed to enhance the festive season!

    1. Eustacia - These were all so much fun! I am glad I read them.

  2. I usually don't enjoy romance but we all need a touch of it during the holidays. It's part of the magic. Marry Christmas to you and your family!

    1. Kathy - I read quite a bit more romance than I usually do this year. It's been my go to genre this year more often than not when I felt the most overwhelmed. I hope you had a Merry Christmas as well.

  3. Both One Wish and The Christmas Keeper have been added to my want to read list. :D Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!!!

    1. Lark - I hope you do get a chance to read them and enjoy them. :-) I hope you had a great Christmas.

  4. Great titles for the holiday season. I hope you guys have been having a wonderful Christmas!

  5. Hi Wendy, hope you had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy Healthy New Year!
    The Christmas reads all look good, I've had my eye on a few of them myself. I've been wanting to read RaeAnne Thayne for some time.

    1. Naida - I highly recommend RaeAnne Thayne's books! I hope you had a great Christmas and have a wonderful New Year too!


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