The book follows the story of Faith Dustin, a widow with two kids and a very successful ranch at Christmas. Faith, although she lost her husband two years prior to the beginning of the novel, is very focused on her family and on making the family business work like it always has – with the help of a neighbor and long-time friend, Chase Brannon. Chase first fell for Faith before she even tied the knot, but his feelings for her have always remained hidden. Until now. Chase considers it’s been long enough, and even though he respects and has respected Faith’s mourning for years, he thinks it might be time to step out of the friend zone and into the love interest zone. Faith, however, isn’t so sure. She will need the help of Christmas miracles, two matchmaking children and Chase himself to see if she can really give a second chance to love.
I’m a Christmas person. There, I said it. But to get me into the real Christmas spirit in September, while on holiday – that takes some effort. The Holiday Gift transported me into the cold mountains of Idaho while I was sunbathing at the beach. It makes you wish December would come sooner. It takes you places that I, personally, have never been to before. I have never seen a ranch at Christmas (or a ranch in person, for that matter), but thanks to The Holiday Gift, now I feel like I have and must visit a real one soon. It may be a Cold Creek novel, but it sure warms your heart.
I feel for Chase. He is, no doubt, my favorite character. He’s thoughtful, loving and respectful and proves that he will wait for Faith however long it takes. That’s what makes the character of Faith a bit frustrating. There are times when you want to yell at her for passing on the opportunity to give her neighbor a chance, but deep down you know it all makes sense. Her insecurity, fears, doubts. She’s been through so much in the past few years, and she only wants to protect herself, and her kids, from another tragedy.
My only issue with this novel is that it is, according to Goodreads, the fifteenth one in the Cold Creek series. That shouldn’t be a problem, and it won’t make you enjoy it any less, but being my first RaeAnne Thayne book, I do feel like I’m missing out on something. There are many characters that I feel I should know better. This is a ranch I think I should feel like I’m coming back to, not visiting for the first time. I guess you’d feel different if you’ve read other Cold Creek stories beforehand. Nevertheless, and I’m saying this as somebody who doesn’t usually enjoy Romance, you will definitely enjoy this little-lighthearted story. A must-read during the Christmas season.
The Holiday Gift will be available from November 22nd, 2016.