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.The Christmas Room by Catherine Anderson
on September 1st 2017
Genres: Holiday, Romance
The beloved author of the Mystic Creek series gifts readers with a novel of homespun holiday cheer, as two families discover the joy of hope and redemption.... Widow Maddie McLendon has uprooted her life to move to Rustlers Gulch with her son and grandson. But as a brutal Montana winter looms on the horizon, contractors have yet to break ground on their new house, leaving them to live in a makeshift camp of trailers, tents, and sheds....
Since his wife died six years earlier, millionaire rancher Sam Conacher has been content to wallow in his grief alone, while keeping a tight rein on his twenty-six-year-old daughter. But now the girl has gone and fallen in love with his foolish new neighbor’s no-good son....
Maddie and Sam will never see eye to eye on anything, until a near-tragedy gives them a true glimpse into each other’s souls. And as the first snowflakes begin to fall, they’ll discover that an open heart is the biggest gift of all....
I started reading with a grain of salt. I guess I’m not quite in that Christmasy spirit yet. This story, funnily enough, does not have anything to do with Christmas until the very end. But, that didn’t stop me from fully enjoying it. Actually, maybe that helped since I wasn’t quite ready for a Christmas read anyway!
This is almost two plots rolled into one. There are four main characters, Maddie’s family and then Sam’s family. Maddie’s son and Sam’s daughter have started seeing each other and Sam is not too happy! He goes out of his way to be a cantankerous old man about the entire situation. Sadly, although Kirsten is 26, her father still keeps a tight reign. She’s becoming more bold and starting to disobey him in small ways. When she meets Cam, she’s the one that asks him to eat with her.
Cam’s situation is nearly paralleled Kirsten’s. Cam had a son very early in life, and has been working hard to ensure his son has a good life and knows he’s loved. So they understand each other quickly. As they get closer and closer, Maddie and Sam get further apart. The arguments between Maddie and Sam had me in stitches! I know it was serious but I just knew that they were suited well for each other. Actually, although the story is a bit more about Cam and Kirsten, I found myself enjoying the older couple a bit more. They both have a fire under them and neither one of them are going to back down from their argument.
It takes a lot for these relationships to form and bud. It makes sense to the plot, and the character arc was huge. There was one point where Cam and Kirsten get into it, and it felt a little pushed. Kirsten knows who her father is, and how he has hurt his reputation, so this whole argument, about half way through the story, seemed contrived. However, Sam and Maddie’s conversations were the highlight of this fabulous story. And Cam’s son, Caleb, really shined as well.
Sadly, there are a few downsides to this. Both Cam and Kirsten tell each other that they never fall in love so quickly, etc. They say this so often that I started getting annoyed. I love the story line and where their relationship was going, but it was like the author was trying to ensure her readers knew that she knew that the characters were moving fast. I don’t like insta-love, and this wasn’t even exactly insta-love, but trying to make up for it by saying you’re sorry multiple times is off putting!
Also, the end was very long. I loved how all the characters grew, but then the ending kept going and going. I was ready to be done and still had about 10% to go. Once they wrapped everything in a neat little bow, I was good!
Also, why does everyone have the same type of Australian Shepherd? I have five dogs and all of them are different breeds. I’ve never met anyone that has the exact same number and type of dog that I have. So, this was a weird issue that just made me have a question mark over my head like a cartoon character. Why add so many dogs if they are all going to be the same? Sam even says that he would never have shot Cam’s dogs because he loves them more than his horses, and yet they are hardly in any scene. In my house, I can’t move without tripping over dogs. I can only imagine what it would be like if I were on a farm. They would want to help with everything! I get, dogs are not characters in a book, but I feel like they should be added fully, or maybe not at all.
That said, I ended this absolutely loving the story. A bit long winded, especially with the repeated sayings from the young couple, but overall, this was a fantastic story. The Christmas Room does show up, but at the end. With such a small presence, maybe the book should have been named something different. It wasn’t really a Christmas story, but the ending does wind up at Christmas time, maybe that’s why the author and publisher went with that? Overall, I think people looking for a good Christmas read will not be disappointed and will love the characters just as much as I did. Even with the things that put me off, this is a fabulous read that many will love!
|Overall:||4.2 / 5|
Catherine married Sidney D. Anderson, an industrial electrician and entrepreneur. They had two sons, Sidney D. Jr. and John G. In 2001 she and her husband purchased a central Oregon home located on a ridge with incredible mountain views and surrounded by forestland honeycombed with trails. It was her dream home, a wonderland in the winter and beyond beautiful in the summer. She named it Cinnamon Ridge after the huge ponderosa pines on the property, which sport bark the color of cinnamon.
Sadly, Catherine lost her husband to a long-term illness in 2014. She has kept Cinnamon Ridge as her primary residence but divides her time between there and her son John’s farm, where she has the support of her loved ones and can enjoy his horses, cows, and raise her own chickens.
Catherine loves animals and birds, both wild and domestic. She presently has two Australian shepherds, six cats, and a very old canary. She is very family oriented as well. Her older son has lived in Japan, Australia, and now resides in New Zealand. Catherine and her stateside family will celebrate Christmas on the north island with Sidney, his wife Mary, and their two sons, Liam and Jonas.