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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Deck the Halls by Donna Alward

I'm a big fan of Donna Alward, and particularly liked her Darling, VT series, so when I saw this one, I immediately requested it. I was not so impressed.

Here's the summary:

With shades of It’s a Wonderful Life, one man must face his past to find his future this Christmas.
In the last year, George's life has drastically changed. The formerly homeless veteran now has a job he likes, a family in the residents of Darling, VT, and for the first time in years, a home. But while his present is good, he's still haunted by the past, a past that appears shortly before Christmas when the older sister of his brother-in-arms hunts him down and finds him in Darling, working at the Ladybug Garden Center.
Amy’s looking for closure for her family after her brother's death in the Middle East, but the serious man she finds working in Vermont doesn’t resemble the soldier she remembers from years before. This man is hardened and yet somehow fragile, too, and in her desire to find out what really happened to her brother, she learns more about George than she ever expected.
With a little Christmas magic and the whole town supporting them, can these two bruised hearts make a future together?

So, here's the thing. This book isn't NEARLY long enough to address the issues. George is a homeless veteran. He's only been off the streets for six months. He could barely LOOK at other people nine months ago. Deck the Halls takes place in TWO WEEKS. oh. hell. no. I loved George in the previous books, and when I saw he was the hero of this one I had my doubts, but was still pretty excited for him to find love.  It is in no way realistic and not even a little bit believable. At the beginning of the book he's still hiding from customers in the greenery and by the end of two weeks he's happily in love?

Secondly, while I see that Alward was trying to make their earlier connection a strong one, I found everything Amy did presumptuous and high handed. Yes, George needs help. But you don't just arraign that for someone and spring it on the intervention style. He's not a drunk. It's not rehab. And then to pay for it the way it's done? No.

I really wanted to love this one, and none of it worked for me, at all.

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