A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

TBR Challenge: several holiday-ish reads

on December 20, 2017

I’ve thinned out the few holiday romance I had in print in previous TBR challenges, so this year I turned to my ebook TBR. And then I had to keep reading, because none of them inspired me to write a full post.

Nine Lights Over Edinburgh by Harper Fox.

This is a bit of an odd duck, probably because it was originally written for a holiday anthology. It’s very dark, but in a kind of “Frosty the Snowman” way. Did you weep copious tears over Frosty’s death when  you were a kid? And then he came back? This is kind of like that, minus the Christian symbolism — a lot of bad stuff goes down but then in a Chanukah miracle it’s all okay in the end.

Coming Home for Christmas by Carla Kelly

These are three linked stories about three generations of doctors/nurses in a family. The first two are stuck away from home in wartime, the third encounters some complicated adventures on the way back. The details about doctoring during wartime are vivid, as was a subplot about a woman who grew up with a Native American tribe and is forcibly torn away from her children and returned to her original family. (I think a whole book about her might have been more interesting.) Nice enough holiday reading, but not particularly memorable.

Snowbound by Janice Kay Johnson

A teacher and her eight teenage charges get snowbound with a hermit innkeeper. She and he fall in love, but his inability to acknowledge and deal with his PSTD causes a rift between them. Once I got past the idea of all those kids, I really enjoyed this.

The Admiral’s Penniless Bride by Carla Kelly

(This has an extremely tenuous connection to Christmas. Eh, so do I.)

Kelly’s books generally tend towards the sweetly warmhearted, but for me, she crossed the line into saccharine here. A middle-aged admiral at loose ends impulsively marries a younger, destitute widow and everything in the garden is simply too lovely for words, until he finds out she lied to him. I was uncomfortable with how everything in the story was designed to show how compassionate and wonderful they both are — charitable, free from prejudice, etc. — and then abruptly shifted into melodrama. By the time something exciting happened, the balance of the story felt way off.

On the plus side is a very matter-of-fact depiction of a disabled hero; his arm was amputated many years ago and he’s perfectly comfortable with his new normal. And there are some fun and wryly witty moments.


5 responses to “TBR Challenge: several holiday-ish reads

  1. Dorine says:

    Good job on clearing out several from your pile. Hopefully I’ll catch up to you in January. Do you read Christmas themed any other time of year? I just can’t bring myself to do it unless snow is on the ground. LOL

  2. SuperWendy says:

    Of all the TBR Challenge themes this is the one I think most participants would like to see “go away.” Y’all suffer because I can’t say no to a Christmas romance (although one of these years I’m going to surprise everyone and read a Halloween book for the December TBR Challenge!)

    Of these I’ve only read the Janice Kay Johnson which I recall liking, not loving (like some of her others). I think it landed where in my B range and I do recall it finaled in the RITAs, but didn’t win. She does such a great job with conflict, I’ve always wondered by Harlequin has tried to strong arm her into “women’s fiction trade paperback book club” fiction – but they haven’t. Fine by me! I tend to lover her Supers but wonder what will happen now that the Super line is closing in June 😦

  3. […] read a few more recent Kelly titles last year and found them sadly meh.  I was intrigued by how similar this older book was to those, in terms of plotlines, yet how […]

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