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Saturday, November 21, 2020

#NetGalley Book Review: The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas, Three Stories by Jodi Thomas, Sharla Lovelace, and Scarlett Dunn

I particularly liked two of this trio of historical, western Christmas tales.
The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas
Jodi Thomas, Sharla Lovelace, Scarlett Dunn

53830346. sy475
Print length : 314 pages
Publisher : Kensington Books (October 27, 2020)
Genre: American Historical Romance, Christmas, Western
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0.

In these Texas-set stories of romance and adventure, the Civil War is over, Christmas is coming—and it’s time for three rugged fighters to become lovers . .
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jodi Thomas
Dispirited by war, when Trapper Hawkins accepts a job hauling five little rich girls to Dallas, all he cares about is the money. He doesn’t expect they’ll awaken his spirit—or that their intriguing nursemaid, Emery Adams, will awaken his heart. And when danger strikes as Christmas Eve nears, he definitely doesn’t expect Emery and the girls to risk their lives—for him . . .
A catastrophic storm, an ailing herd, and a failing cattle ranch have left Texas rancher Josie Bancroft in danger of losing everything her father worked for. Still, she’d rather die than merge with her neighbor rancher Benjamin Mason, the man who broke her heart years ago, on Christmas Eve. As old sparks fly and secrets are revealed, however, Ben is determined to help Josie—and prove that this time around can be different. That the misunderstandings of Christmas past need not define their future . . .
CHRISTMAS ROAD * Scarlett Dunn
Yellow Fever has hit Clint Mitchum’s Texas hometown and taken his father and siblings, leaving Clint ever more cynical. Racing homeward to be by his mother’s side, Clint finds only a note from her, asking that he help her caregiver, a young woman named Amelia. Assuming his mother has passed, in his grief Clint ventures out to search for Amelia—and finds the best of gifts—just in time for Christmas . . .

These are three distinct, western, historical romances for Christmas reading. The first and third take place shortly after the Civil War, while the middle story is more uniquely set in 1904. I fully enjoyed the first and third stories. The second story is a second chance romance but had elements that didn’t suit my tastes. My overall rating is 4.25.

FATHER GOOSE by Jodi Thomas
Trapper is a loner who wins a ‘transport’ job in a card game before he learns that the job involves safely delivering five young girls to their father’s ranch for Christmas. The journey is likely to be dangerous due to threats of kidnappers in addition to normal risks. But Trapper is sure he’ll succeed even when he faces the first obstacle of finding a nanny to accompany the wagon.

Emery is a young woman under the thumb of a tyrannical father. She noticed the quiet loner who was respectful and didn’t go upstairs with the ladies. When she hears about the transport job she decides this may be her only chance to escape her hard life.

Trapper is only too happy to find a nanny willing to come along to help with the five spunky girls he dubs “1” through “5”. Along their perilous journey they all work together to share the chores and the girls, including Emery, surprise Trapper by helping to keep them safe.

I totally loved the unique characters, Trapper, Emery, and the five young charges. Their interaction is enchanting. The sweet romance blooms, even under the precocious eyes of the children. With danger, charm and romance, this story reminds me why I love Jodi Thomas historical novels! My rating 5.0.

It has been a series of hard years for Josie since she fell in love, was betrayed and then lost her father. The ranch hasn’t been able to bounce back after a bad storm and her accountant has told her the only solution may be to marry one of the eligible men of the community. One in particular is interested but Josie suspects he won’t allow her to continue with the ranching.

A few days before the tax collector is to call, Josie reluctantly agrees to attend a social gathering at her neighbor’s ranch. This is hard enough as Josie isn’t the type to get gussied up, but it is even harder since the neighbor is the same man who betrayed her a handful of years back.

Ben knows that Josie still feels betrayed, but he is frustrated that she never gave him a chance to explain the events that tore them apart. For the past years he has protected the one really good thing that came of their broken relationship. Now Ben would like the chance to help Josie and show her that things can be different for their futures. But first he must break through her stubbornness.

There were two factors that made this story a struggle for me. First is Josie’s hardheaded, closed-off stubbornness. Second is the racy, bordering on graphic, sexual descriptions of the story. I generally like historical fiction, whether Victorian, Regency or Western, to share a sweeter romance. Other readers may well enjoy the sexier style. My rating 3.75.

CHRISTMAS ROAD * Scarlett Dunn
Clint races home after receiving a letter telling him that his mother is ill with yellow fever that struck down his father and siblings. Clint finds that the whole town has been decimated. Clint finds a note from his mother that he should find Amelia, the young woman who cared for her during the illness. Clint sets out to follow the families who left town hoping to find Amelia and make sure she is okay.

Clint helps a father and two young boys to the gold camp where the townsfolk are supposed to be. When Clint seeks out the family with whom Amelia traveled, he is surprised to find a beautiful young woman and two young girls. He is quickly smitten but fears Amelia is grieving the recent loss of her husband.

The families are struggling even as they share Christmas wishes and dreams. Clint helps the families fight off evil men and then finds himself pushing to get a sick Amelia back to his hometown doctor. Will Amelia pull through and will Clint be able to get back to save the children at the camp from danger and a sad Christmas?

This is a charming story with some misunderstandings, a touch of danger, and several sweet moments. Clint is a likeable hero, and the Christmas surprises are a delight. I would be glad to read more stories by Ms. Dunn. My rating 4.25.

Source: Received from NetGalley. This qualifies for 2020NetGalley goal.

1 comment:

  1. For me, any collection that features a Jodi Thomas novella, hers is always the strongest offering. I thought so in this book but liked the other two. Different in tone and content, for sure!


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