I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak
Published by Harlequin on November 1st 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Holidays, Romance
Just call her Christmas Eve…
Eve Harmon has always enjoyed Christmas, but this year it reminds her of everything she doesn't have. Almost all her friends are married now, and that's what Eve wants, too. Love. A husband and kids of her own. But the B and B she manages, and even Whiskey Creek, the small Gold Country town where she was born and raised, suddenly seem…confining. Eve's worried that her future will simply be a reflection of her past.
There's no one in the area she could even imagine as a husband—until a handsome stranger comes to town. Eve's definitely attracted to him, and he seems to have the same reaction to her. But his darkly mysterious past could ruin Eve's happily ever after—just when it finally seems within reach. And just when she's counting on the best Christmas of her life!
The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak was probably my least favorite Christmas book that I read during the holiday season last year. I simply could not get behind the characters, believe the romance that was supposed to be starting between them, and I found myself shaking my head at all the twists and turns that were supposed to be bringing them closer together. In fact, all the twists and turns did for me was drive me further away from the book. I did finish it however because part of me did want to see how everything would turn out for the characters because even though they kind of made me want to pull out my hair, I just had to know how everything would wrap up for them. Was there a happily ever after involved? Yes there was. Was it worth it for me? No it was not.
Eve Harmon is a strong single woman who is getting ready to turn thirty-five. All of her friends and family are busy with their own lives so Eve decides to celebrate herself by going out for a couple of drinks. What she didn’t expect to happen was for herself to get completely wasted and wind up in bed with a complete stranger but alas that is exactly what happened. I wanted to like Eve. I really did because she seemed like someone that I could relate to watching all her friends get married and having babies while she is still stuck alone and trying to figure things out. I also wanted to sympathize with her because of the fact that apparently she was dumped by a man that she was madly in love with for another woman. I really wanted to…but she just didn’t make it easy. I did like how she was standing by Rex even though every gut instinct was telling her not to do so. I just wish more had been done with it because I felt like there could have been some real character growth there within her but instead it just felt really flat to me.
Another thing that fell kind of flat for me was Eve’s love interest Rex. He is supposed to be running for his life and all dark and mysterious but I don’t know I just didn’t feel it. He actually kind of bothered me with all of his secrets and the way that manipulated Eve. He didn’t always mean to do it but he did because of his past and his inability to tell her the truth. Yes, I understood that he was trying to protect her but, when she’s being pulled directly into the line of fire and he’s still lying to her about things? I just couldn’t see how they could build a relationship after that. There was just too much that needed to be fixed and I don’t think all of it was something that could be fixed with a quick happily ever after moment either. There was some real damage done in this story. Damage that I don’t feel was ever really quite rectified in an appropriate manner. The two characters never really talked about what had just happened but instead focused on moving forward with things. Not to say that this is a bad idea but in the context of the story I felt that there really should have been more discussion involved. If it had been, or if the story had been written in a different way, I may have actually been able to enjoy it.
I have heard that the other books in the Whiskey Creek series by Brenda Novak are actually much better than The Heart of Christmas so maybe one day I will give them a shot. Right now though I don’t think I have very much interest in it. There are too many other books out there which I would like to invest my time into instead. Not to say that someone else may really like the relationship that was formed between Eve and Rex but it just didn’t work for me. I also didn’t feel very much of a Christmas type feeling from the book either which I feel was a shame since it was supposed to be set around Christmas time. All in all, this book just didn’t work for me and did nothing to lift my spirits around the holiday time last year.