Series: Eternity Springs #12
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 4, 2016
Genres: Christmas, Contemporary Romance
Source: the publisher
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Also in this series: Miracle Road, Mistletoe Mine, Dreamweaver Trail, Teardrop Lane, Heartsong Cottage, Reunion Pass
Also by this author: Miracle Road, Mistletoe Mine, Dreamweaver Trail, Teardrop Lane, Heartsong Cottage, Reunion Pass, Boone
Can Miss Christmas find her spirit again?
After a devastating betrayal, Claire Branham packs up the pieces of her life, along with a twenty-million-dollar secret, and moves to Eternity Springs. She opens a specialty shop—Forever Christmas—and, with the help of a surprise romance with the town’s sexy new handyman, Claire’s heart begins to heal. Until her past comes knocking…
Jax Lancaster never questioned the need to abandon his career as a Navy submariner in order to care for his young son in the wake of his ex-wife’s death. Desperate to help with this loss, Jax straps on a tool belt to give Nicholas the one thing he wants: A life in Eternity Springs. What Jax never expected to find a second chance at love with a fascinating woman for whom Christmas has become a business. But when the truth about Claire threatens their newfound happiness, can Jax prove to her that in Eternity Springs, the spirit of Christmas is real. . .and will last a lifetime?
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
Emily March is one of those writers who can keep me up half the night to finish a book. (Literally. It was 3:30 in the morning when I turned the last page!) Christmas in Eternity Spring offers lots of feels, plenty of Christmas spirit, simmering romantic tension, and one very brave little boy. The inevitable romantic blow-up seemed a little contrived, but that’s a minor complaint. This is one Christmas romance you don’t want to miss.
Claire struggles with Christmas spirit after (as the blurb suggests) a “devastating betrayal” — and an earlier grief, which we learn about only later. In an effort to recover her love of the holiday, she opens a Christmas store in Eternity Springs. I really liked Claire; she’s kind-hearted and really trying to pick up the pieces of her life and move on. She and Jax have a wonderful chemistry that is heightened by the slowness with which their relationship develops.
Jax is the father of young Nicholas, the little boy at camp who was so afraid of dogs in Reunion Pass. Nicholas suffered a tremendous trauma at Christmas, and it has left him prone to panic attacks at the mere sight or sound of anything to do with the holiday. Claire is drawn to both Jax and Nicholas, and wants to help Nicholas overcome his fears. I love how March handles this; Jax and Claire are both very careful and respectful of Nicholas, allowing him to set the pace for his recovery while remaining fully supportive of his feelings and needs. Jax is a wonderful hero: not too perfect, but a terrific father who loves his son deeply and is determined to do whatever it takes to help him.
I mentioned how slowly Jax and Claire’s relationship develops. It’s one of the things I liked best about the book. They both see the importance of taking their time, getting to know each other — flirting and kissing, sure, but not taking things further until they’re more sure of what they want. And they continue to hold that line even when circumstances force them into close proximity. It made for a slow buildup that focused on feelings rather than just the physical, and made those feelings very real.
I did feel that the inevitable relationship crisis (have you ever read a romance that didn’t have one?) didn’t quite ring true. Or rather, that both crises were a little contrived, and the characters’ reactions a little over-the-top. Ms. March sprinkled clues to Jax’s feelings about a certain issue, but his reaction still seemed out of proportion. In the second case, Claire has been hiding another secret which further taints her aversion to Christmas; when that one comes out, she melts down (which was understandable, if surprising)… and her subsequent actions seem unlike her. Her reaction would have been easier to understand if we’d known more about her secret earlier in the book; the clues were there, but only hinted at the actual situation.
But that is really a minor quibble in what is overall a heartwarming and thoroughly enjoyable holiday romance. From the warmth of the Eternity Springs community to the strains of carols wafting from Claire’s shop, Christmas in Eternity Springs is guaranteed to put you in the Christmas spirit.