Author: Jaci Burton
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: December 6, 2010
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Big Star, Small-town Christmas
Country singer Riley Jensen would never have returned to her small Missouri hometown if her publicist hadn’t come up with the scheme to tape a Christmas special there. So she never would have known that the man who broke her heart at eighteen—causing her to flee to Nashville—was now a widower with a seven-year-old daughter. Riley has ten years of angst-filled hit songs and Grammy awards to prove she doesn’t need Ethan Kent. But suddenly, she can’t help thinking of all she gave up by running away…
Ethan Kent knew Riley had the talent and the drive to make it as a singer. He also knew she wasn’t going anywhere if she stayed in their nowhere town for him. Then one night and one huge mistake sent her running on the road to fame. Which doesn’t mean he ever stopped loving her…
But with so much separating them, can Riley and Ethan find their way back together one magical country Christmas?
I recently got this book on sale, when I was in need of reading a heart warming Christmas story. I had seen it advertised on twitter, and having heard great things about the author, I snapped it up. And am I glad I did!
The story was compelling. The past of the hero and heroine was one that really broke my heart. It was complicated and there were hurt feelings, a misunderstanding, and eventually forgiveness, but heck, what Ethan and Riley went through, and the guilt Ethan felt over everything that happened, was vivid. There was no escaping it. And this is why I cried as I read this book, especially at the end, when finally the past was let go of. Finally.
One of the other nice things about this book was that the two main characters actually talked. Sure, they were both hesitant to do so at first, Ethan because he was afraid of hurting Riley and Riley because she thought she should be over the hurt by now, but they still talked. Even though it was hard. Even though it brought up a time in their lives that left raw wounds, even 10 years later.
Now, as for Amanda, I don’t know how to feel about here. Like Riley, I was sad. Amanda passed away and lost her chance to raise her and Ethan’s daughter, Zoey. No one would wish that on anyone, no matter what they’d done in their past. But I also was angry with her for the jealousy she felt towards Riley and how she took away the one thing Riley wanted, a family. And that family, for Riley, had been Ethan. Also, like Ethan, I wasn’t sure what to think. Was Riley really pregnant with his child or was it all a horrible, misguided set up? That question would have haunted me. But despite what happened to him, somehow Ethan made an okay life with Amanda. He never loved her, but he kept his promise -his marriage vows- to her, and even with the bad, they got Zoey out of it.
We all do stupid things when we’re young. We all make mistakes, hurt people we love and care for, run away sometimes -when things get tough-, and live with regret. And this book talks about all of that, and more. It was the perfect book for the holidays and really showed the meaning of love, family, forgiveness and healing. I already snapped up the second and third books in this series, because honestly, I can’t wait to read more about the Kent family.
*This book was a self-purchase. All opinions are my own.*