Dec 13, 2013

Posted by in Reviews | 1 Comment

Anne Reviews: Take Me Home For Christmas by Brenda Novak (Whiskey Creek #5)

takemehomeforchristmas4 star

Contemporary Romance
October 29 2014
Mass Market Paperback
400 pages
MIRA

Yummy Man – Ted Dixon
Kick Ass Chick – Sophia DeBussi

From Goodreads –
Christmas is a time for remembering….

Too bad all memories aren’t pleasant. Everyone in Whiskey Creek remembers Sophia DeBussi as the town’s Mean Girl. Especially Ted Dixon, whose love she once scorned.

But Sophia has paid the price for her youthful transgressions. The man she did marry was rich and powerful but abusive. So when he goes missing, she secretly hopes he’ll never come back—until she learns that he died running from an FBI probe of his investment firm. Not only has he left Sophia penniless, he’s left her to face all the townspeople he cheated….

Sophia is reduced to looking for any kind of work to pay the bills and support her daughter. With no other options, she becomes housekeeper for none other than Ted, now a successful suspense writer. He can’t bring himself to turn his back on her, not at Christmas, but he refuses to get emotionally involved. He learned his lesson the last time.

Or will the season of love and forgiveness give them both another chance at happiness?

———-

Take Me Home for Christmas is the fifth book in the Whiskey Creek series by Brenda Novak.  This is a small town series which is fairly common right now.

I got When We Touch, #0.5 in the series, as a Kindle freebie.  I am shocked to say I read it shortly thereafter.  I have piles of Kindle freebies and have only read a few but something about this one grabbed my attention and I read it.  Now I normally read romance, and to be honest most books, to escape and sometimes to learn about new things.   This series is not the typical type.  It touches on the dark side of small town life.  I grew up in a rural community of 1500; I know what I am talking about here.  If a person stole a candy bar or called someone names or whatever when they were six, some people remember it and won’t let them forget it at 26 or 36.  This town is a bit larger and some really horrific things have happened.

The books follow a group of friends who are now in their early thirties.  When available, they meet at a coffee shop on Friday mornings.  These are good, compassionate people.  They are the kind of people and group of friends I have always wanted.  The stories show them growing up, facing a wide range of issues, and of course, falling in love.

I am a total angst baby.  I avoid the dark side.  These books aren’t REALLY dark, but they are the type of dark which bothers me most:  the inhumanity of man.  It hurts me and makes me cry.  But I am really enjoying these books.  They have some realism, some people I admire and would want to know and love.  Usually, I like books best with humor, and there is some, but not as much as I normally prefer.  In every book, there is at least one person who has had some terrible things happen to them and rarely was it their fault or in their control.   There is more irony than humor.  It’s more like when you’re going into an important event and someone spills all over you.  It’s funny in how the timing is the worst possible.

Ted is a great guy.  I can emotionally say he’s yummy.  He’s smart, caring, interesting.  I don’t have much of a physical picture in my head, just a vague sense.  The same is true of Sophia.  In spite of her many issues, I still see her as kick ass.  Many people say how beautiful she is, but I don’t have a clear description.  This is ok with me.  I make my own view of characters anyway, no matter how the book describes them. It also allows the reader to focus on the emotions and the story.   There is so much happening in the present, it’s a bit overwhelming.  I still wish the book covered a bit more of the history, particularly why Sophia got involved with Skip at all.  It does, sort of, but I wanted more specifics.

The supporting cast of characters is quite strong and real in these books.  It is not just the couples which have had books earlier in the series either.  Novak does an excellent job of drawing these characters.  I love the integrity and braveness of all the characters, some of whom face unpleasantness, ridicule, heartbreak, or lambasting, either owning up to their personal mistakes or to help others.   Of course, there are some people who just want everything their way and don’t care who they hurt.  This is not a black and white world; there is gray.  This is part of what makes it so realistic, I think.

I do have to say I would definitely read the series in order, especially for this book.  There has been a buildup of the details in other books about Ted and Sophia, so this book won’t make as much sense if you haven’t read the other books.  It is more true here than for any of the other books.

This series, and Take Me Home for Christmas, are very enjoyable.   There are all sorts of characters, rich and poor, strong and weak.  I enjoy the diversity, the life stories and histories as they unfold.   These are more realistic than some romance books with the depth of the characters and the issues they face.  I normally would always want to have giggle-worthy quotes and the books do have some really funny dialog at points, but I don’t think they would quote out of context very well.  If you are tired of the same old “billionaire meets ordinary girl, family hates them as a couple or some other problem, but they fall in love” story, give these more real books a try.  I highly recommend it.

4 stars

Books in the Whiskey Falls series –
When We Touch (#0.5)
When Lightning Strikes
When Snow Falls
When Summer Comes
Home to Whiskey Creek
Take Me Home for Christmas
Come Home to Me (March 2014)

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  1. There are many series like this one out there, and I really want to read them all. Someday … when I am retired I should have enough time on my hands …

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