Book Review: Deck the Halls by Donna Alward

December 4, 2017 Book Reviews, Winter Reading 0

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Deck the Halls by Donna AlwardDeck the Halls (Darling, VT) by Donna Alward
Published by Swerve on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Holiday, Romance
Pages: 128
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
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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?

 

Donna, Donna, Donna… you’re killing me! I should know I need tissues when I read your stuff, but yet again, I opened this, expecting great things, and getting a roller coaster ride! I laughed, and cried, and laughed, and then cried some more! My hubby interrupted my reading at 95% and I had to tell him, through my crying, that I could not talk to him until I finished!

Like usual, Donna Alward has written an extraordinarily beautiful story. I have come to expect her stories to be full of drama, but to make up for that drama with a great love stories, with characters that have real issues.

In this, she writes again about Darling, Vt. I have read the previous stories from this town, and I suggest reading these in order, but you do not HAVE to. I recommend them mainly because you’ll get a bit of a spoiler because other couples are together but fortunately, Donna Alward does a quick overview of the couples. So, if you haven’t read it you’ll be great, or if, like me, you inhale these the second they are published (or beg the publisher for arcs!), then that quick overview helps jog the memory!

Ok, now that all that is out of the way! Darling, VT! I love reading about the couples in this town. I want follow up books! I want more of them. They are all such fantastic characters, full of life and zest, and issues, that I fall in love with them. This one was no different. George was a vet and saw combat, so he’s working towards getting his life together. While in the military he lost his best friend, and twin brother of Amy. He hasn’t spoken about the incident for 16 years, and he doesn’t plan to start anytime soon. So, of course Amy is going to blindside him by walking into his workplace!

George is such a great character. His pain emanates off of the page. In portions of this story I cried for him and for what he lost, nearly his humanity. And in other parts, I cheered because he was standing up, shaking himself off, and moving forward, even if the steps were minuscule, they were forward. Amy is just as determined as George but also understands that she cannot push him if he refuses to budge. There is so much in this novella that I just want to hug everyone and cry with them!

Donna Alward is a master of bringing out emotions. I am not sure how many times I told my husband that I disliked her while burning through the pages. I dislike the feelings that she demands I feel, while reading about amazing characters. The plot to this one is just as good, if not better, than her previous stories.

I need more! I cannot wait for her next book.

 

Rating Report
Plot
5 / 5
Character Development
5 / 5
Writing Style
5 / 5
Personal enjoyment
5 / 5
Cover
5 / 5
Overall: 5 / 5

 

 

About Donna Alward

While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, and Nora Roberts. Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers.

Donna lives on Canada’s east coast with her family which includes a husband, a couple of kids, a senior dog and two crazy cats. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking…and is a Masterpiece Theater addict. You can visit her on the web at www.DonnaAlward.com and join her mailing list at www.DonnaAlward.com/newsletter .

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