Sunday, October 11, 2015

Review: Christmas at Evergreen Inn (Jewell Cove #4) by Donna Alward

Book Blurb:

Welcome back to Jewell Cove, where this holiday season, there happens to be no room at the inn...

When a December Nor'easter roars up the eastern seaboard, Jewell Cove cop Todd Ricker spends his day off being a Good Samaritan to stranded holiday travelers. But when the roads close and Todd can't make his way home, he discovers that the Evergreen Inn is full up. Until another Good Samaritan opens her doors and offers him a place to stay...

Lainey Price is not looking forward to Christmas, but just because she's not filled with the holiday spirit doesn't mean she's going to turn Todd out into the stormy night. Even if it means offering the handsome police officer the couch in her tiny cottage. But when the weather takes a turn for the worse, the two are snowed in for a wintry evening by the fire. With Christmas only a few days away, can Todd convince Lainey to open her heart to the season...and love?

My Review:

In Christmas at Evergreen Inn by Donna Alward, when a snowstorm strands Todd, he gets shelter and a lot more than he was looking for this Christmas!  Lainey is not interested in celebrating Christmas, but for the clients at her B & B she puts on the act, happy to escape at night to her cottage behind the inn.  When Todd needs a place to stay, she can't stop herself from offering him her couch.  Todd and Lainey have known each other for years, and there's always been a subtle attraction.  Both have felt the other was too good for them though, so nothing ever came of it.  In their present day life and circumstances, the attraction is still there.  But Lainey is definitely not looking for love, she's still hurting from a past relationship.  Todd isn't really looking for love, or a commitment, but now that he's been so close to Lainey he wants more.  He wants her to smile, he wants to show her fun, and remind her what Christmas can be.  Neither expects the attraction they feel to suddenly seem like so much more.  Can Lainey open her heart again and risk it for Todd and for Christmas?  The chemistry and connection is definitely there...but will she end up with a broken heart at Christmas again?

I really enjoyed this quick, well paced novella.  I felt like Donna wrote the perfect length for this story.  I liked Lainey and Todd.  They felt real, like people I could know.  Todd finds himself wanting more with Lainey.  He is considerate but also just pushy enough.  I liked that it wasn't all about what he wanted and what would be good for him.  I felt like he really thought about Lainey and wanted her to be happy.  Lainey is still hurting from another broken relationship, and is having a hard time opening herself up to anything else - relationships or Christmas.  There were a few times she made assumptions about Todd that could have pushed him away but didn't.  I got the impression it was self preservation for herself kicking in, and while I didn't like that side of her I did understand it.  Donna writes this story well, and manages to show the struggles some people do have around the holiday season, even if it's not obvious.  I felt like this was an important part of Christmas at Evergreen Inn.  It didn't overwhelm the main plot, but it just makes you more aware.  There is just enough tension and drama to make things real, but there was also hope and heart woven into the story.

I liked the build up of passion between Lainey and Todd.  Donna wrote this in well and it is relevant to the characters and the plot.

I love the setting, the snow, and the Christmas feel I got when reading Christmas at Evergreen Inn!  Donna managed to make me feel like I should be decorating for Christmas!  I found Christmas at Evergreen Inn to be entertaining, moving, and emotional.  I'd recommend Christmas at Evergreen Inn to any romance reader looking for a smoothly written Christmas novella!

4/5 stars

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