Christina Forrester is starting over. After a financial scandal sent her ex-husband to prison, she’s left raising her young son without any of the comforts of their old life. Budgets, coupons, lawn care—you name it, she’s learning to do it all on her own. Well, almost on her own—she’d be lost without Gail Broughton, the kind widow across the street. But when Gail’s son comes home, Christina’s vow to never trust a man again is put to the test.
Will Broughton left town because he was tired of being “that poor man” who lost his wife and unborn child in a tragic accident. But years have passed and, with his dad gone and his mom alone, it’s time to go home. Only his mother’s not alone. She’s taken Christina under her wing, and the beautiful and determined single mother awakens something in Will he thought was buried forever.
As Will and Christina are forced to spend more time together, feelings that are more than neighborly grow between them. And with Christmas coming and a child filling both houses with holiday cheer, it becomes nearly impossible not to embrace the joy—and the love—in their lives.
I have a New Year’s Eve tradition. Every year, at some point I make myself a cup of my beverage of choice, cuddle up somewhere comfy with the cat, and I read Shannon Stacey’s holiday novella. This tradition started with Holiday Sparks in 2010. It was my first Shannon Stacey book ever, and I was hooked. In 2012 she did a summer novella instead of a holiday one and New Year’s Eve felt very strange.
Of course I pounced on the opportunity to review Her Holiday Man. A holiday novella?! And from a favorite author?! Where do I sign up?!
In this story, Will is returning home after living a semi-nomadic life the last few years. His wife and unborn child had been killed in an accident with a drunk driver right before Christmas a few years earlier, and he left town so he could try and get through his grief. He’s returned home because his father had a heart attack and died, and he wants to be closer to his mom.
Christina and her son Nathaniel are living across the street from his mom. Christina’s ex was very wealthy and ended up swindling lots of people and losing everyone’s money, including his own and his wife’s, and going to prison for it. She’s now working for the first time in her life, and learning how to build a good life for her and Nathaniel.
Shannon Stacey’s holiday novellas are something I look forward to all year long. They’re the perfect holiday treat. This one was no exception. She has a way of making a short novella feel like you’ve spent years with these characters. We really felt Will’s struggle with all the reminders of his wife and child. This is the first time he’s been home for the holidays, and there’s a lot for him to face. As for Christina, this is the first Christmas where she’s out on her own. There’s no designer Christmas trees and no extravagant gifts. They both know how fickle life can be, and it’s lovely to see these two enjoy each other and all the love in their lives. There are struggles, sure. It’s a romance of course. But watching these two learn to open their hearts and trust again, and take risks again, was a beautiful thing.
I can’t wait to reread it on New Year’s Eve. Review or not, it IS a tradition, after all.
Lynda the Guppy
aka The Ho-Ho-Holiday Novella Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks