This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance
Published by MIRA
Released on October 29, 2019
After thirteen long years in prison, a man gets to celebrate the Christmas holidays in freedom for the first time since he was a teenager. A woman comes to town to heal a broken heart after her husband of many years lets his rockstar fame put his family aside. I was captivated and eager to see how things turned out for this pair and try a new to me author all in one.
Christmas in Silver Springs is the sixth book in the series about the inhabitants of a small California town a little distance from LA. This read standalone just fine, but I could see how it was tied in with the previous story about the hero’s brother.
Tobias Richardson made a horrible mistake years before when he was a teenager and ended up turning a guy into a paraplegic which he served time for as an adult. Out of prison for five months now, he’s struggling against loneliness and guilt along with the real temptation to slip off the straight and narrow. He has his landlord at the orchard farm and his brother’s family who believes in him. He has dreams and plans if he can just hang in there especially when he sees the family he hurt all the time in a small town. Then, he catches sight of a beautiful woman with sad eyes and knows she is way out of his league, but he can befriend her, right? She doesn’t need to know about his past since this is just temporary until she returns home.
Harper Devlin thought being married to her college sweetheart, having his two children, and supporting him through thick and thin on his rise to rock stardom would be enough. But, then he told her he wanted a divorce and started the proceedings. She decides to spend the holiday with her sister’s family where she can have support and lick her wounds. She was hoping for a miracle even as the divorce deadline approached. Then, through a series of encounters with a handsome man who makes her feel comfortable and at peace from the moment she meets him, she begins to realize that her life would not be over if she was divorced. Besides, she deserves a bit of fun with a great guy at least for the holidays. Tobias seems too good to be true, but she’s falling for him.
I wasn’t prepared for how much this book would give me the feels. I knew that it would dig a bit deeper than the average holiday romance when I read that blurb about their situations, but the author made it all personal so that I was right there for how Tobias felt about his past mistakes, his struggles to reintegrate to life outside prison, and even the brief glimpses of what life in prison had been like. Then, there’s Harper who gets pushed aside in her husband’s rise to glory and fame and how that felt especially knowing he was unfaithful and didn’t seem to care about keeping his family together. I liked how their story was set among a cast of well-developed secondary characters, too.
I had a moment near the beginning when I kept side-eying Harper for her hot and cold deal with Tobias because she was a serious hot mess and needed to get her head on straight before she tangled with a man even for what she thought was a one night stand. Then, later, it was Tobias’ turn when I kept getting fidgety knowing his keeping his ex-con status and story to himself was going to blow up in his face. I do get it and it made sense not to over-share when he thought it was a one and done or a holiday fling, but when they started looking at longer… yeah, time to cough up the deets.
As much as I loved Tobias and Harper’s romance, and I surely did even though it was complicated with her pending divorce, rebound troubles, and Tobias’ secret, the best part of this story was the healing that happened when the man Tobias’ harmed and went to prison for, shared a special project with Tobias that helped Tobias finally start to emotionally heal.
All in all, this one exceeded expectation and now I have a new author to hunt up her backlist for this series and her other books, which of course, I have several on the shelf already. This is for those who want a holiday romance with some depth and a cast of characters and setting that are thoroughly engaging.
My thanks to Harlequin MIRA for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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