Title: A Bramble House Christmas
Author: CJ Carmichael
Published: October 26th, 2015
Page Count: 172
Price (eBook): ~ $3.99
Format Read: NetGalley PDF
Date Read: November 8th - November 14th, 2015
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Synopsis: When Finn Conrad finds out that his father bequeathed a large sum of money to the nurse who cared for him in his last few weeks, he is convinced that she must be up to something sinister. His mother and sisters urge him to visit Montana, where she'll be spending the Christmas holiday, to find out more about this woman who seemingly manipulated their father into giving her his money.
Willa Fairchild is just a mother struggling to protect her six-year-old son from the world. Now that he's been declared cancer-free, she knows that she ought to release her grip on him, but it's difficult. Since his father left shortly following his diagnosis, it's been difficult for both of them.
Finn no longer believes in love, following his parents' divorce. He comes to Marietta, Montana under his nom de plume, hiding his identity from a woman he believes had sinister intentions with his father. Once he meets her, however, it becomes apparent that she's nothing like what he expected.
My Thoughts: I loved everything about this book. It's one of my favorites that I've read this year, and I will happily recommend it to all the family and friends who enjoy romance novels.
It's no big secret that I'm not generally a fan of romance novels. I've read quite a bit of Nora Roberts, but little else captures my attention. Most of the time I find the heroes to be weak and the heroines simpering and pathetic. This is not a genre that I generally pick up, but for some reason this book stood out to me (in spite of the fact that I don't like the cover at all). When I do pick up a romance novel, I don't often finish it, so the fact that I not only read this, but finished it and loved it is saying something to me.
Willa's character is real. She's soft and warm, but we want our romantic heroines to be soft. We're not looking for a strong female lead who's going to sweep in and save the day. If we did, we'd be reading a different genre.
Her concern for her son is touching, and Scout's story -- not to mention the fact that he is a key character in the book and not simply a plot device! -- tugged at my heart strings. His condition forced Willa's character to develop independent of the romantic storyline, which I very much like. Kids are often little more than props in romantic stories (which is one reason I don't often finish them!) but in this case I felt like Scout was a fully-developed character himself, which was lovely.
Finn is masculine without being macho. His manliness isn't shoved into our faces. He's sensitive to his mother and sisters' needs while the relationships are still kept realistic and varied. They aren't a perfect, happy family without any problems in their relationships, and I liked that about him. I loved the fact that he was an artist, because this, too, is not typical romance novel fare. He's not a man in uniform, and his occupation isn't a prop to make him more attractive to the reader (or to the heroine, for that matter).
I fell a little bit in love with both of them, and Ms. Carmichael did an amazing job of making them both appealing. Most romance novels I've read start out with one character being an unappealing ass while the other is the partner they've always wanted. One then has to work their way toward the other. In this novel, however, the conflict is more external (the inheritance money) and less to do with the characters' personalities.
The magical touches in the book just made it that much more appealing.
I will definitely be looking at the other books in this series! I loved all the characters I was introduced to!