Source: publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: contemporary romance, holiday romance
Series: Haven Point #10
Published by Hqn on September 24, 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Publisher's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository
Hearts are lighter and wishes burn a little brighter at Christmas…
Elizabeth Hamilton has been lost. Trapped in a tangle of postpartum depression and grief after the death of her beloved parents, she couldn’t quite see the way back to her husband and their two beautiful kids…until a car accident stole away her memories and changed her life. And when she finally remembered the sound of little Cassie’s laugh, the baby powder smell of Bridger and the feel of her husband’s hand in hers, Elizabeth worried that they’d moved on without her. That she’d missed too much. That perhaps she wasn’t the right mother for her kids or wife for Luke, no matter how much she loved them.
But now, seven years later, Luke finds her in a nearby town and brings Elizabeth back home to the family she loves, just in time for Christmas. And being reunited with Luke and her children is better than anything Elizabeth could have imagined. As they all trim the tree and bake cookies, making new holiday memories, Elizabeth and Luke are drawn ever closer. Can the hurt of the past seven years be healed over the course of one Christmas season and bring the Hamiltons the gift of a new beginning?
The holiday season has begun. Oh, not the official Xmas season, but the holiday romance season, definitely. It seems as if the first of the holiday romances start hitting the shelves right around the first official week of fall, and here we are.
As the year starts winding down, and the weather starts drawing in – or at least cooling off – it just starts to feel like it’s time to curl up under a cozyblanket, with a cup of hot cocoa or tea, a sleepy cat or two, and a heartwarming holiday romance.
Today’s book, Coming Home for Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne, is a great way to open this year’s holiday reading splurge.
Haven Point is one of those little towns that seem like great places to love. It’s a tight-knit community, people generally get along, and the economy has been looking up throughout the course of the series.
But life, and especially people, are not perfect. And not everyone’s life is going along swimmingly.
That’s where our hero, Luke Hamilton, comes in. Because seven years ago, his wife Elizabeth walked out into a snowstorm, leaving Luke and their two small children behind.
Along with a giant cloud over his head. Elizabeth never came back. Neither was her body ever found. No proof has ever been discovered to implicate Luke in either her disappearance or her presumed death.
But the court of public opinion convicted him long ago. And now the new District Attorney wants to make a name for herself by making it official. She plans to charge him with murder.
So Luke drives out in yet another snowstorm, making the 8 hour drive from Haven Point to the Oregon Coast, because he knows one thing that the DA doesn’t want to hear. Or believe.
His missing wife, Elizabeth Sinclair Hamilton, is living in Oregon under the name of Sonia Davis. And has been for years. She left him, she left their kids, and she never came back to them.
But he refuses to leave his children with no parent at all because his wife is too selfish to come back to them. There’s no way that he’s going to jail, or even on trial, for a murder that he not only didn’t commit, but particularly for the killing of a woman who isn’t even dead – even if she’s dead to him after years of betrayal. Or that’s what he believes.
The truth, well, that’s another matter entirely.
Escape Rating B+: Coming Home for Christmas is a quick read, and makes for a lovely second-chance-at-love holiday romance. Surprisingly so, considering the themes of the story and the underlying heartbreak behind Elizabeth’s actions.
It also reads like perfect fodder for one of those Hallmark Xmas movies – with more than a bit of a soap opera plot – complete with amnesia and reconstructive surgery. And the happy ending wraps up a bit quick and seems a touch contrived.
I’m not saying that this couple couldn’t find their way back to each other, in spite of the past, but it should have taken a bit more time and effort. No one needed to grovel in this one, it’s not that kind of story. But they have a LOT to get over, and doing it over the course of a single week after seven years of separation and justifiably hurt feelings seems like more than a bit of a holiday miracle.
At the same time, there’s a lot of “meat” to this one – and not just the traditional Xmas turkey.
The reason that Elizabeth stayed away from Haven may sound like a soap opera plot, but the reason she left was deadly serious. Suffering from clinical depression compounded by postpartum depression, overwhelmed by her grief, lost in a dark pit of despair, she couldn’t climb out on her own. No one could. And Luke, coping with a baby and a toddler, a business start up that required too much attention but had to succeed to support them all, tired and out of options or support of his own, still dealing with his own emotional issues, couldn’t handle it all.
Elizabeth got sicker and Luke became less able to cope and neither had a support network. Elizabeth left because she was lost in a spiral and was sure her family would be better off without her. And that part of her story happens more frequently than anyone wants to think.
So there is a bit of a holiday miracle in this one. It’s a miracle that would have felt more earned if it had taken a bit more time – but it’s more than enough for a lovely holiday read!
~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~
I am giving away a copy of Coming Home for Christmas to one very lucky US or Canadian commenter on this tour!