Review: A Cowgirl’s Christmas by C.J. Carmichael

Posted August 28, 2021 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 13 Comments

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Review: A Cowgirl’s Christmas by C.J. Carmichael
A Cowgirl's Christmas

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Series: Carrigans of Circle C #5
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance, Western Romance
Published by Tule Publishing
Released on October 27, 2014
Pages: 167
Format: eBook
Source: Free Book
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The Delight

When a father’s death brings shocking changes and revelations to his daughters, one daughter takes it harder than the others because her whole life just shattered and no city man or his pitiful proposal is going to salvage any of that.  The author is familiar as is her Montana ranching smalltown setting, but so is her strong characterization, tough life situations, and slow, steady romance development.


A Cowgirl’s Christmas is the fifth of the Carrigans of the Circle C series.  I’ve read two out of order so far and it worked out fine, but I can see how progressing through the series from the beginning would have been even better.

So, Callan, the youngest of the Carrigan sisters and the one who stayed home and ranched alongside their hard, silent, and isolated father because ranching is what she loves and she desperately works hard to prove herself and gain her father’s love with their shared work.  But, when her dad dies, he leaves some surprising bequests in his will that involve a nephew who is a stranger and an old trunk full of secrets from their mother.  The secrets are as devastating as is the knowledge that nothing in her life will ever be the same including her beloved ranch home.

Court knows the shocking devastation his uncle’s will is having on the Carrigan women and he hates the pain that he is part of, but he was promised that the women would come around and he was promised the chance at a future in ranching.  One meeting with Callan is all it takes for him to hope for so much more, but her bitter anger and pain might be too strong for anything else.

A Cowgirl’s Christmas was heartbreaking to read at first.  Hawksley Carrigan’s death opened up a nasty can of worms.  I was so angry and him and his dead wife for letting those women find out the hard, bitter truth right when they were losing so much.  Especially Callan.  She tried so hard to win Hawksley’s love.  Fortunately, Court was a stalwart, patient and empathetic man.  He stood quietly beside Callan even when she blasted him with chilly hatred or ignored him.  He thought he understood Hawksley until he came to Montana and saw a different side of the man and now understood just why these women felt as they did.

This story is Callan’s.  Oh, there is a backburner romance with Court, and there are lovely appearances of her sisters who already got their stories, a cousin, nieces, and the town, but this was a woman whose life crashed to the very bottom and she had to pull herself back up.  I felt for her through it all.  She tended to take out her anger on Court as the closest available target, but later she knew he wasn’t responsible and was even wonderful about things.  She had the temptation to drink, to go into a depression and push her family away, and she struggled with turning into that hard, bitter man who had done all this to her and her sisters.

Speaking of sisters, I love how Mallie, Dani, Sage, and Callan- all so different- were so close and there for each other.  There were wonderful scenes with them all together during their time of grief, discovery, and later holidays.  Their men, children, and the extended family were all a tender, fun part of it all, too.  And, I did love the build up to Christmas on the ranch.

All in all, this was a heartfelt story that I devoured in one sitting.  I will go back for the older books I’m missing in the series and progress through the newer ones.  The more I read of this author’s writing; the more I crave her books.  I would recommend this mostly as a women’s fiction with a romance crossover.

Challenges Met

COYER Seasons #39
Mt. TBR #98
COYER Community #73 Christmas Readathon
Romance BINGO #47 horse on cover

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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8 months ago

So she’s not related to the nephew? I’m assuming that’s a no if there’s a romance with him. I like the sound of this. Hawksley (strange name) sounds like a real piece of work. I like that this isn’t very long. Not free anymore, but it’s $7 with the audio narration. Not bad.

Sophia Rose
8 months ago
Reply to  Rachel

No relation. Hawksley was his dad’s third cousin I think. And, yeah, he was something else and I didn’t even get into how much because I didn’t want to spoiler it.
I got this one a while ago so I’m not surprised it isn’t still free. 🙁 But, glad you might find it on audio somewhere, Rachel.

Mary Kirkland
8 months ago

Finding a book that you read in one sitting is great. I haven’t read this but it sounds good.

Sophia Rose
8 months ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Yes, it was a real gem. I can’t believe I held onto it so long. I need to read the rest of the series.

Lee Vega
Lee Vega
8 months ago

It’s always useful to read such articles especially when you’re so distrustful as I am. From my own experience, there’s only one website whose authors I can believe – as for many years I’ve been following their advice and guides and I’ve never been misled.

Lover of Romance
8 months ago

Those heartfelt books that you devour so quickly are always the best reads right??? Glad this one worked out so well for you.

Great review.

Sophia Rose
8 months ago

You said it, Renee!

Anne - Books of My Heart

I like the author. I just have to finish the other series first. I’m glad to see this one is a winner as well.

Sophia Rose
8 months ago

I have to finish the last of the Bitterroot Mysteries and then I want to finish these and start her other mystery series. I really like her writing.

8 months ago

I’m really not much for western romances, but I have read them occasionally. This one sounds pretty good. I’m glad you loved it! Christmas books already? lol

Sophia Rose
8 months ago
Reply to  Lorna

Yeah, that I get- right book for right mood now and then.

LOL, I participated in a Christmas holiday readathon and I picked this one since I’ve had it and wanted to read it so much. 🙂

Carole Rae
8 months ago

Xmas in August! Yes!

Sophia Rose
8 months ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

I had a good time with the Christmas readathon.