Monday, November 14, 2016

The Holiday Gift by RaeAnne Thayne

Publisher & Release: Harlequin, November 22, 2016

Time and setting:  Present Day, Idaho

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length:  224 pages

Heat Level: 1 Sweetheart

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 


With two kids and an active life, widow Faith Dustin only wants peace and quiet for Christmas. But her snowy Pine Gulch ranch is nothing but chaotic. All that keeps Faith going is her helpful neighbor, cowboy Chase Brannon. He's always been "good ol' Chase," her faithful friend. Until he kisses her under the mistletoe… 
Years ago Chase blew his chance with the woman he's loved since childhood. Now he's determined to step out of the friend zone…and into the role of husband. But the scared and stubborn Faith won't let herself fall. With Christmas just days away, Chase will need all the magic of the season—and the help of her two matchmaking children—to unwrap a second chance at love.

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Vikki’s Musings

This is the first book I have read by Ms. Thayne, and I enjoyed it. I found it when I was sent an invitation from the publisher via Net-Galley to read in exchange for an honest review. I always enjoy heart-warming Christmas stories with children, so I eagerly accepted.

Faith Dustin lost her husband in a horrific accident over two years ago, leaving her a ranch on the brink of bankruptcy and two young children to raise on her own. Her neighbor and best friend for twenty years is a Godsend. He has helped her turn her ranch around and is a father figure to her children.

When Chase Brannon informs her he wants more than friendship, Faith runs scared. She never wants to suffer the heartache she felt when she lost her husband again. Can Chase convince her he will stick around for the long haul, or will Faith keep her walls up and turn her back on a second chance for love?

The Holiday Gift is an emotionally-charged romance with engaging characters, including several children that will steal your heart. The pacing is steady and that keeps the story moving along from start to finish.

While I liked Faith’s character, I did struggle with her irrational fear over allowing Chase a chance to prove they will be good together. She is very stubborn about this to the point I wanted to shake some sense into her. She holds onto her fear until the very end of the book. I really got irritated when she kept trying to push him into the arms of another woman even after he clearly told he was not interested. I did love her nurturing of her children and her willingness to help her sisters. That helped me hang in there and just pray she would change her mind and let Chase in.

Chase’s character makes a great hero. He’s a truly nice guy who only wants to love Faith. He is a great father to his daughter and truly cares for Faith’s children. He is honorable and willing to help anyone who needs it. It’s refreshing to find a hero who isn’t a womanizer. Of course, he fell in love with Faith at eighteen, but never acted on his love when his two best friends start dating and eventually married. He really tried to put it behind him and move on, hence his bad marriage that ended in divorce. His one flaw is not speaking up and really letting Faith know how strongly he feels about her. If he had, maybe he could have laid at least some of her fears to rest earlier in the story.

Nonetheless, I did enjoy the characters in The Holiday Gift, especially the children and her great-aunt. If you’re looking for an easy read that will put you in the mood for the holidays, then I would recommend this book. Happy reading!

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