An early #blogmas Book Review | “Home for Christmas” (Book No.12 of the Shores of Indian Lake series) by Catherine Lanigan One of the #HarlequinHeartwarming series I love reading!

Posted Friday, 22 November, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#blogmas 2019 badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I’ve been hosting for Prism Book Tours since September of 2017 – having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. As I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors when I’m not showcasing book reviews on behalf of Harlequin Heartwarming which has become my second favourite imprint of Harlequin next to my beloved #LoveINSPIRED Suspense. I am also keenly happy PRISM hosts a variety of Indie Authors and INSPY Fiction novelists.

I received a complimentary copy of “Home for Christmas” direct from the author Catherine Lanigan in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Before I begin sharing my thoughts on this 12th installment,
let’s look back and re-visit what I enjoyed in “Hers to Protect”:

You could feel the frustration Violet Hawks had within her – she was a rookie who wanted to make her mark on the force but in a way which would catapult her forward rather than keep her grounded in a small towne (such as Indian Lake); as she had goes to escape into a larger metropolis where her skills could be sharpened on more challenging cases. Except for the main concern hitting Midwestern small townes is the same as it is elsewhere (ironically or not) – the rise on drug runners and lines of distribution of said drugs is becoming a small towne issue rather than a big city trade. This is why local police and law enforcement have to think outside the box and rely on their detectives and officers to stay vigilant about enforcing the law in order to combat the complexities of erasing the drug trade from their region.

Being a woman who wants to advance in her field, you could almost feel the tension from Violet’s co-workers (all men) who did not wish to see her find traction on a case remotely of interest to their Chief. This is another keen example of Ruth Bader Ginsberg legacy case (showcasing “on the basis of sex”) wherein what is inherently wrong between the genders is a disillusion of equality and the fact most issues between men and women arise out of preferential treatment skewing inequality against the other.

One thing that irks my ire inasmuch as Violet’s are the people who think money and their own self-deducing sense of power can entitle them to just about anything they please. Thus, when you see how she arrests Josh for his outwardly poor choices in driving in excess of speeds past 200 mph – you can see why she made the choice to arrest his sorry butt than to debate the merits of his ironically self-inflated ego to compensate for said poor choices in driving speeds! You really want to rally behind Violet – not just for the flak she might be hedging to take once she’s back at HQ but for how she stood her ground, drove home her point in a decidedly calm manner of delivery and also didn’t let the county sheriff derail her effects to take-in a person who felt he was above the law.

You had to laugh really, how Josh didn’t check his conscience until after he spoke to his agent? If you flashback to the CARS sequence of films, even Lightning McQueen had to learn that life lesson! If all you do is coast through life on an ego trip and view everything as one entitled perk after another – then where do you draw the line? Josh Stevens is your typical celebrity racer who hasn’t learnt how to eat humble pie but something told me Violet Hawks was going to be part of the proverbial change in his inflated perspective of self.

In true Lanigan fashion, there is always something a bit extra bubbling beneath the surface of her characters – by the time you sort through the kind of childhood Josh Stevens had lived and the traumatic deaths he had endured from his family, you can see a margin of reason towards his recklessness now as an adult. It wasn’t an excuse for his choices but it was a reason of intention behind them which softened your ire against him. He wasn’t just a reckless driver for the benefit of the joy in the height of driving without limitations – there was more to it than that and this is what made him an interestingly flawed character to read about as the story evolved.

Mrs Beabots is the kind-hearted landlady you definitely wish you had in your life – not just for the random dinner parties and the kindnesses she gives to make you feel welcome as a neighbour but for how she proves that community begins with people reaching out to people. She is also the spearheaded visionary behind the new start-up non-profit to help the foster children in Indian Lake – which proves that sometimes a lot of change can begin with a singular act. She was the secondary character who stood out to me the most within the pages of Hers to Protect. I had a feeling the rest of the supporting cast were making re-appearances from previous stories – I eagerly await making their acquaintances as I journey back into the series lateron this year; however for now, it was Mrs Beabots who held my heart.

One of the reasons I love reading (or watching) police procedurals is how the cases are worked from the inside out. You can have a seemingly one layered case to solve but the more you dig into the particulars of what is involved the more complicated the whole thing becomes and this is what I was loving about the direction Hers to Protect was taking as it gave way to seeing how small townes are policing their communities with an edge of insight generally resolved for larger departments in larger cities.

Lanigan excells in giving you a feel for the track as Josh retakes his position as a driver in the high stakes racing renown for an Indianapolis race. Repleat with the dangers that go with racing in general – you can’t peel your eyes off the race even though your concern for Violet’s heart is on the line as well. There is a tempering of emotions between Violet and Josh which make sense since their both in new territory – her for bracing herself against a potentially attractive bloke who may or may not be involved in her current case whilst for Josh, the temptations for feeling smitten by anyone is new for a bloke whose tried to remain emotionally neutral for most of his life.

By the time this story concludes, you feel as hugged inside Indian Lake as your first visit – Lanigan has created a close-knit community where neighbours become extensions of your family and where friendships thrive against the backdrop of the love and warmth only a small towne can provide. I enjoyed watching how Josh grew out of the desperation he was facing as a racer – as a lot of what plagued him on the track was internal and emotionally dimensional to his past. He found a new lease on life in a place he would hardly have considered if life hadn’t intervened and that is what makes this such a sweet second chance romance – as it wasn’t a second chance relationship but rather of carving out your own niche of living in a place which took you by surprise.

-quoted from my review of Hers to Protect

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An early #blogmas Book Review | “Home for Christmas” (Book No.12 of the Shores of Indian Lake series) by Catherine Lanigan One of the #HarlequinHeartwarming series I love reading!Home for Christmas
Subtitle: Shores of Indian Lake
by Catherine Lanigan
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Can a magical Christmas under glass…

…bring them back together for good?

Widowed dad Adam Masterson still doesn’t understand why Joy Boston left Indian Lake and broke his heart all those years ago. Now she’s returned to sell her grandfather’s beloved poinsettia greenhouse—and Joy and Adam’s connection is as strong as ever. But Joy has a life in New York. And Adam has only until Christmas to convince Joy that she belongs in Indian Lake—with him.

Genres: Adoption & Foster Care, Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-335-51092-1

Also by this author: His Baby Dilemma, Rescued by the Firefighter, Hers to Protect

Also in this series: His Baby Dilemma, Rescued by the Firefighter, Hers to Protect

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 5th November, 2019

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

The Shores of Indian Lake series:

The Shores of Indian Lake series collage by Prism Book Tours

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Previously I’ve read the following in the series:

His Baby Dilemma (book nine) | see also Review

Rescued by the Firefighter (book ten) | see also Review

Hers to Protect (book eleven) | see also Review

Home for Christmas (book twelve)

(*) I’ve acquired a copy of “Sophie’s Path” to be read in conjunction with borrowing the rest of the series via inter-library loan

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin Books

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

*Harlequin has the luxury of offering Regular, Large & Larger Print editions
which I personally can attest are lovely to be reading! Especially after a migraine or when my eyes are fatigued.

Converse via: #ShoresOfIndianLake and #HarlequinHeartwarming

About Catherine Lanigan

Catherine Lanigan

Catherine Lanigan is the international bestselling and award-winning author of forty published titles in both fiction and non-fiction, including the novelizations of Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile, as well as over half a dozen anthologies, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living your Dream”, “Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul”, and more.

Ms. Lanigan’s novels have been translated into dozens of languages including German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese. Ms. Lanigan’s novels are also available in E-books on and Barnes and, Apple Store, Mobi and Kobo. Several of her titles have been chosen for The Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Clubs. Her Vietnam war-based novel, The Christmas Star, won the Gold Medal Award Top Pick from Romantic Times Magazine and has also won Book of the Year Romance Gold Award from ForeWord Magazine as well as Book of the Year Romance from Reader’s Preference.

Lanigan is the author of a trilogy of non- fiction books regarding angelic intervention in human life: Angel Watch, Divine Nudges and Angel Tales published by HCI and Cedar Fort. Skyhorse published Lanigan’s “how-to” book on writing: Writing the Great American Romance Novel. Lanigan was tasked by the NotMYkid Foundation to write a non-fiction book addressing teen addictions. Ms. Lanigan’s first Young Adult adventure novel, The Adventures of Lillie and Zane: The Golden Flute, was published by Cedar Fort.

Currently, she has published eight novels in the Shores of Indian Lake series for Harlequin Heartwarming: Love Shadows, Heart’s Desire, A Fine Year for Love, Katia’s Promise, Fear of Falling, Sophie’s Path and Protecting the Single Mom. Family of His Own pubs July, 2016. She has recently contracted for one more in the series: His Baby Dilemma.

As a cancer survivor, Ms. Lanigan is a frequent speaker at literary functions and book conventions as well as inspiring audiences with her real stories of angelic intervention from her Angel Tales series of books.

She is an outspoken advocate for domestic violence and abuse and was honored by The National Domestic Violence Hotline in Washington, D.C. (THE EVOLVING WOMAN). She has been a guest on numerous radio programs including “Coast to Coast” and on television interview and talk show programs as well as blogs, podcasts and online radio interview programs.

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Author Notes to Readers:

I personally love when authors share a bit of their personal lives in their notes to readers – this novel is dedicated to the author’s parents and the sentiments she shared inside this dedication are mirrored reflections on behalf of my own parents and the home they gave to me. I can definitely relate to a close-knit family, a home full of love and a bountiful collection of blessed memories spread through the years (not just at Christmastide) with my parents and grandparents alike. Life is fuller when it is shared with those you love and I definitely understood the key inspirations behind Home for Christmas. It was beautifully stated and uplifting for all of us to find our own happiness during the holiday season.

Sadly, somewhere in the tides of my own afflictions and whispers of stress IRL, I missed one very important moment in Ms Lanigan’s life and felt badly I hadn’t realised it sooner than reading it this novel – as her husband passed away recently and I attach full sympathies to this review for the condolences I never had the chance to give. Throughout the past three years since my father’s stroke (the weekend of Black Friday, 2016) there have been moments where Mum and I have wondered after my father’s health and wellness; of what the future holds for us as a family and of course having to embrace the differences which come post-stroke when your love one resumes their lives post-recovery. I’ve loved and lost so many dear relatives in my life and to be on the brink of nearing losing my Dad that fateful Saturday in the ER whilst he battled through TIA strokes for an hour, I can definitely understand the loss and the time it takes to heal from missing a cherished love one in your life. May this holiday season be full of sweetened memories and the joy of a life shared for the entire Lanigan family.

my review of home for christmas:

I love how Home for Christmas opens the door into Joy’s life by a heartfelt wave of sentimental nostalgia for her grandfather’s Thanksgiving at Indian Lake. This series has been anchoured through family and community through each of the installments I’ve thankfully had the chance to read and it made sense to me this is where the twelfth story should begin. Especially considering during the hours of Thanksgiving (mid-to-late November stateside) throughout the coming Christmastide – all of our memories feel crisper, firmer in clarity and are emotionally resting on the edges of our hearts. This is due to how much we each long for a re-glimpse back into the past to re-cherish the moments we shared with loved ones still amongst us and those whose journey took them into the next life. It is the kind of sombering flashback you can understand yourself and one which was a lovely small insight into where she lives in Manhattan – as even there, in the midst of one of the world’s largest cities you can find ‘reminders’ of where you come from and what is important to you.

When life bolts after you quicker than lightning the adjustment period it takes your heart to catch-up to the events you’re living through can take a bit longer than you realise – especially considering most of life which emotionally crushes our spirits happens without warning. I had a feeling the call Joy received about her grandfather was going to have a shattering effect on her spirit but also on her sense of self – she had fused her identity and her sense of family into the last living relative she had and that was going to put herself in a difficult place until she realised what she had outside family. You felt for her roommate and bestie Glory – wanting to do more but limited in what she could give as Joy wasn’t prepared to receive anything other the necessities. It was a clever switch of direction – to offset Joy’s presumption her life in the City was right as rain and re-situate her elsewhere were potentially she might see things in a different shade of light. At least this reader was hopeful of that because she definitely fell into that category of career women who felt they were the ‘neat and tidy’ brides to be where everything is inked and ironed out in finite detail but really what they want is the liveliness of spontaneity and a well-rounded life outside of their careers.

It never fails to wrinkle my brow whenever I see a parent who wants to instantly discourage a child from pursuing the arts. This of course was not the best way to warm up to Adam but it is rather infuriating whenever I see a child (IRL or a story) whose keenly interested in either performance or fine art (or any other medium therein) and find themselves treading water trying to explain their interest to their parents. You’d think we’d progressed far enough now to where the Arts could be equally embraced as future paths to walk down as readily as Science, Math, Engineering and Technology but I think some parents might forget that its not just ‘STEM’ its also “STEAM’.

The heart of the novel is connected to Joy’s family poinsettia business – something I was thankful to see as the choice of holiday centered commerce in the story because of all the flowers I get giddy about seeing throughout the year, poinsettias have long since held a special place in my holiday expectations. Mostly because you can’t meet a poinsettia which doesn’t instantly uplift your spirits and its quite hard to admire one without smiling! The leaves are velvety soft, the colours are brilliantly darkened in reddy hues of crimson and there is a certain magic about how whenever the poinsettias go on sale, you start to see a flicker of hope for your community to be a bit less humbug and a bit more full of the holiday spirit!

The one reason regrets and unresolved angst from the past is better served in small allotments is because if you take a big enough slice of what plagues your conscience about the past, you’re going to spiral into a puddle of self-pity such as Joy found herself doing on her arrival into Indian Lake. You can’t go through your life compartmentalising everything and everyone; sounds brilliant but the toll that takes on the human psyche and soul? Not worth it. Of course, unresolved relationships notwithstanding – you also have to be kinder to yourself. If you ran out of time to say or do the things you regret not doing now, you have to respect the choices you made even if you regret the reasons why you made them initially. Without kindness we become too immune and hardened by the tides of life and that is something I felt both Joy and Adam were getting a hearty dose of reality towards understanding as Lanigan re-established them onto a path where they both had to come full circle to either resolve, restore or let go of their past connections.

Similar to finding Mrs Beabots refreshing in the last novel, I found Roy the Uber driver to be one of those unexpected delights of the community of Indian Lake! Roy was the kind of person who understood more than what you told him, could read well between the lines and even know exactly what you needed before you realised it yourself. In essence, the best non-taxi driver the community had and dearly ought to be in-demand for passengers seeking a well-informed insider who could help you become acquainted with the small towne life Indian Lake could provide. They were the kind of community members who make a towne cosy and approachable. Blessedly, Mrs Beabots makes a return visit in Home for Christmas as she has some necessary work to get done between the hearts of Adam and Joy!

One of the more interesting facets of the story is how to turn a viable business venture into a clean energy trade by shifting off natural gas (or propane; bottled) and opting instead for something more renewable such as the energy of choice Lanigan selected for Adam to be an expert of in his field: geothermal energy. This is an option you most oft see available in Western states especially in places like Oregan (ie. Klamath Falls) or throughout the Rockies where it is more readily available though more states are giving this option over natural gas which is harder to control (hence the headlines) and can become combustible. What was great about how this new energy option was presented was how it could fit in-line with a business plan for a re-launch campaign to bring back the bottomline of a business which fell on hard times. This is where renewable energy can make the best difference and give a person a bit of a leg-up in the process towards future growth.

It was hard to know what Joy found more distressing – her lack of self-motivation to go back to the City or the fact she had lost a lot of people in Indian Lake over the years who would have been willing to be her extended family if only she had let them. This is another aspect of the story I enjoyed the most because it brings up the concept of ‘found family’ and how sometimes, even if life doesn’t go the route you believe it should or the one you honestly plan it to follow – there are unexpected surprises along the way which make endear you more in the end. This is where the heartwarming aspects of the imprint live up to its name on the cover of the stories – to remind you of everyday humanity and everyday fortitude of ordinary people who are willing to be resolute in their support of each other.

On the Contemporary Heart-centred story styling of Catherine Lanigan:

I personally have always appreciated the compelling ways in which Ms Lanigan pulls you back through her vision for Indian Lake. I keep promising myself one of these months and years, I’ll be able to read through the back-titles of the series. In effect, this November I had attempted it if you saw how I had borrowed most of the series through my local library whilst I announced my current reading queue during an early #WWWeds but sadly, between life and migraines, those initial goals were pushed aside for another time. In essence, I lost too many hours to attach into the stories and all the books had to be returnt to the libraries from whence they were borrowed. Despite this personal hiccup in getting back into the origins of Indian Lake, as a reader of the past four novels can attest, Lanigan makes us feel as cosy comfortable in Indian Lake as if we had been reading it since the first novel released. And, that is one of the reasons I love this series as much as I do.

I enjoy seeing the contemporary and modern elements Lanigan knits into her stories – how she keeps her stories lovingly anchoured to real-life topics and subjects of interest whilst endearing us to continue to find interest to re-visit Indian Lake as she carves out a series which feels as homey as our own families. You get to see different sides of the towne, different perspectives from those who call it home and overall, you get to see how Lanigan has created a place you can enjoy revisiting as the forward growth of the towne is right in line with the personal growth potential of its residents.

This story was a bit sweeter round the edges due to the Christmassy inclusions and the back-drop of this revolving round a favourite (and cherished!) holiday flower which is only available during the holiday seasons. Its a flower which makes a statement by its presence and a flower which gives a renewing sense of wonder about the holidays themselves. I can see why she was inspired to place the poinsettia at the centre of the story and why it became such an enjoyable read.

Equality in Lit:

I love finding nudges of real life inside Contemporary Romance novels – aspects of our everyday worlds but also the differences which make us individually unique as well. I also appreciate finding foster care and/or adoption narratives in today’s fiction (across genres, mainstream, INSPY and either Contemporary or Historical story-lines as well) as it re-highlights why Prospective Adoptive Families are in need and why foster care children and youth deserve a second chance at having a forever family. Being a Prospective Adoptive Mum who desires to adopt from foster care in the future, I appreciate these stories due to how realistically they’re told and how they are as individually different per each person who lives their life to tell a story.

In this novel, Lanigan highlights the emotional baggage a foster youth would have who bolted away their emotions and had severe attachment issues when it came to being adopted. In essence, they did not attach and they did not accept the placement very well. It was merely a place to live and a place to grow up but in regards to having that coveted feeling of being ‘home’ and loved by ‘family’ remained elusive to the child who grew into an adult with a young son who was testing him for patience, tolerance and the natural course children embark on their own self-growth journeys. I found it a refreshing spin on characters involved in foster care and pointedly it highlights a lot of truth for adopted adults who have not resolved nor healed from their past where they were abandoned by their biological families. (such as the case with this character)

Similarly, I was appreciative of seeing a single parent story-line – this time from Adam’s perspective on trying to juggle both ‘mother and father’ roles for his young son. Single parents are generally narratives which focus on the women who find themselves moving through parenthood without a partner or spouse to lean on but I have a soft spot for finding the stories which involve the men – from those who choose to raise children as a singleton to every circumstance in-between including Adam’s situation where it was through tragic loss. The single father role has altered over the years in Romance to where it isn’t always about needing to find a woman to mother and raise the children but similar to the progress for women in Romance, men also are standing independent whilst happily viewed of being content and happy in the roles of fatherhood for their children.

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This blog tour is courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

Prism Book Tours

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Home for Christmas blog tour via Prism Book Tours

End of the Blog Tour badged provided by Prism Book ToursBy clicking this badge you can find out about the giveaway associated with the tour;
my particular tour stop doesn’t host the giveaway as I’m a review stop, however,
you’ll find many other bloggers who are hosting the information!

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This book review is cross-posted to LibraryThing.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via{SOURCES: Cover art of “Home for Christmas”, the synopsis for “Home for Christmas”, the author’s photo and biography, the Shores of Indian Lake collage banner as well as the Prism Book Tours badge were all provided by Prism Book Tours and used with permission. LibraryThing banner was provided by LibraryThing and is used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #blogmas 2019 badge and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 22 November, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, Foster Care, Indie Author, Modern Day, Orphans & Guardians, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA

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