Published by Harlequin on 2014-10-28
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: the publisher
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Also by this author: My Kind of Christmas, The Wanderer, The Newcomer, The Hero, The Chance, The Promise, The Homecoming, One Wish, Never Too Late, A New Hope, Wildest Dreams, What We Find, The Life She Wants, Any Day Now
Together for the first time in one volume, two classic holiday stories—plus a bonus novella!—from #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr. 'Tis the season for family, friendship and the thrill of a holiday romance…
Under the Christmas Tree. With snow falling over the redwood forests, secluded Virgin River is the ideal place to spend the holidays. Each year, the close-knit community gathers in the town square to decorate and light a massive tree. Carols are sung, hot chocolate is shared—and a surprise left under the Christmas tree is about to bring two special people together!
Midnight Confessions. Holiday kisses don't end with Christmas—there's still the New Year's Eve party at Jack's Bar to attend. Locals and newcomers alike find themselves eager for that special countdown…and that midnight kiss.
So join us in Virgin River this year, where Robyn Carr's trademark humor, warmth and sincerity will have you celebrating the festive season in your favorite mountain town.
‘Tis the Season brings together the two Virgin River holiday stories, “Under the Christmas Tree” and “Holiday Confessions”, in one volume, and throws in an unrelated but heartwarming story as a bonus. All three stories are good, but Virgin River fans will probably appreciate the first two more than readers who’ve never read the series. That said, each story can certainly be read as astand-alone.
“Under the Christmas Tree” is #8 in the Virgin River series. It takes place between Paradise Valley and Forbidden Falls, and features characters we see later in Promise Canyon: veterinarian Nate Jensen (Clay’s employer) and his by-then wife Annie (Lila’s friend.) In “Under The Christmas Tree”, the two are meeting for the first time since they were kids, thanks to a boxful of puppies abandoned outside Jack’s bar – under the huge Virgin River Christmas tree, in fact. Annie and Nate’s first conversation made me laugh; while they didn’t know each other well as children, they didn’t have a high opinion of each other back then. It seems both of them have changed for the better in each other’s eyes. Nate is confident, handsome and charming, but his down-to-earth qualities keep him from being arrogant. Annie is a lot less confident; she’s coming off a bad relationship and has never seen herself as attractive. Nate is pretty quick to set her straight on that score. She’s also got a soft heart for animals and a passion for horses, while Nate is a large-animal vet and wants to breed and train horses. The two of them are clearly made for each other — and knowing how things turn out didn’t take anything away from watching their relationship unfold. I also loved the scene where Annie’s father and brothers check him out; Nate’s reaction was just perfect. And the puppies add the perfect “aww” factor to the the story. As you can probably tell, it’s my favorite of the three stories in the book.
“Holiday Confessions” (Virgin River #12) takes place entirely on New Year’s Eve, and features Drew Foley, brother to Marci (A Virgin River Christmas) and Erin (Moonlight Road), along with Nate’s young cousin Sunny. Drew is a surgical resident spending a few nights at the family cabin to study. Sunny is anything but sunny; she’s angry and grieving after her fiance left her literally waiting at the altar a year ago, and she has pretty much sworn off men. But when the two run into each other at Jack’s Bar, the Virgin River magic must be in the air. One of the things I like best about this story is that Carr doesn’t try to cram a whole courtship into a single night; instead, the story is about each of them getting to know themselves and understand their previous relationship failures through getting to know each other. Of course, there’s definite attraction on both sides, and the story ends on a note of hope. I did enjoy the chance to get to know Drew a little, since he’s mostly in the background in the novels featuring his sisters. But I had kind of hoped for him to get a whole book!
The final story, “Backward Glance”, isn’t a holiday story at all, which surprised me. It is, however, an enjoyable second-chance romance with a somewhat unusual heroine for Robyn Carr – a genius scientist and scholar who is (or was, five years ago) completely inept at life and love. The hero is a guy who works with his hands and doesn’t (or didn’t) have much ambition. The two were completely wrong for each other then, but they had – and have – a lot of chemistry. This time around, maybe they can figure out how to get things right. I enjoyed the story, but a few of the details are a bit dated (a silk pantsuit?!) Still, they’re incidental to the romance, most of which is pretty timeless.
Rating this book was hard because one of the stories appealed to me more than the other two. I ended up giving it a 4 for Nate and Annie’s story; if that one hadn’t been included, I might have set it at 3.5.
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