Series: Whiskey Creek #7
Published by Harlequin on 2014-11-01
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: the publisher
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Just call her Christmas Eve… Eve Harmon has always enjoyed Christmas, but this year it reminds her of everything she doesn't have. Almost all her friends are married now, and that's what Eve wants, too. Love. A husband and kids of her own. But the B and B she manages, and even Whiskey Creek, the small Gold Country town where she was born and raised, suddenly seem…confining. Eve's worried that her future will simply be a reflection of her past. There's no one in the area she could even imagine as a husband—until a handsome stranger comes to town. Eve's definitely attracted to him, and he seems to have the same reaction to her. But his darkly mysterious past could ruin Eve's happily ever after—just when it finally seems within reach. And just when she's counting on the best Christmas of her life!
The Heart of Christmas is a gritty romance; I wouldn’t call it a Christmas/holiday book, which the cover and blurb led me to expect. It does take place during the holidays, but there’s not a lot of feel-good holiday joy. To begin with, it features a very wounded hero in a very bad situation, and it starts off with a one-night stand (or what was intended to be one night, anyway.) Novak is a good enough writer to make me care about the characters despite my discomfort with his past and with both main characters’ actions in the present (vis-a-vis each other, as in the intended casual nature of their relationship.) However, the ending felt somehow anticlimactic, and much too easy given the tensions and issues earlier in the book.
I also felt as though the plot would have fit better in a more urban romantic suspense novel, as opposed to setting it in Whiskey Creek. To be fair, Novak hasn’t shied away from gritty or painful situations in her other books in this series, at least the few I’ve read. But this particular plot and main character felt over the top for the setting and most of the series’ regular characters. (Incidentally, you don’t have to have read the previous books to make sense of this one; Novak brings you up to speed on the bare minimum you have to know about other characters.)
If you’re fine with this odd mix of gritty romantic-suspense-style plot and charming small-town setting, you’ll probably enjoy The Heart of Christmas. Just don’t go into it expecting warm holiday charm.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
I love cute little holiday reads like this one because they just always get me pumped for the holidays! I’m adding this one to my TBR for this season 🙂
Lily recently posted…Of Metal and Wishes (Of Metal and Wishes #1): Review
I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
Bea @Bea's Book Nook
I agree, this was not a light, cute, or fluffy holiday romance like the cover and blurb promised. The ending didn’t really satisfy me either. Oh well, we tried.
Bea @Bea’s Book Nook recently posted…Blog Tour Review And Giveaway of Fatal Brushstrokes by Sybil Johnson
With a different blurb and cover, my expectations might have been closer to what the story actually delivers.
Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library
It drives me nuts when the blurb and cover give off such a different impression than the actual book gives me. I’ve had it happen a few times and it’s always a little jarring. I’ve read a few of Brenda Novak’s books and I’m not sure what I think of her. The books I’ve read have definitely been darker than the usual small town contemporary. Given my history with her and your reservations I think I’ll skip this one but thinks for sharing! Great review!
Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday – My Winter TBR Pile
Yes, my earlier encounters with her books gave me that impression, too.
Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews
I quite enjoyed this on, except for the condom fail. It always, always makes me roll my eyes at that. It should be second nature for people to use condoms when they’re with people they don’t really know!
Too bad it wasn’t completely to your liking, and I can understand why completely. Misleading blurbs are the devil!
Have a terrific Thursday, Lark.
Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted…Review: Coming for You – J.A. Huss
Yes, that was another thing that made me blanch a bit!