A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | “Her Christmastime Family” (Golden Matchmaker’s Club series, Book Two) by Tara Randel

Posted Tuesday, 4 January, 2022 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

I received a complimentary copy of “Her Christmastime Family” direct from the author Tara Randel in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: In conjunction with this review, I’ve also shared a full review for “Stealing Her Best Friend’s Heart” appearing during #SaturdaysAreBookish. Originally scheduled for a December tour stop for this second release in the series – both were unfortunately detained behind my blog until I fixed a technical mistake! Thereby, they are part of my ringing in New Year, 2022 with celebrations of #ChristmasReads, Romances and Jane Austen.

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A note about what I loved from “Stealing Her Best Friend’s Heart”:

You have to give credit to Gayle Ann and Alveda! Not only are they interfering with the lives of Heidi and Reid, their doing it in such a crafty way that you can’t help but want to hug them! Seriously – these two women are sharp as fiddles and despite what everyone else might think, they definitely know how to bend the truth to where it influences someone else to act! I loved their scenes together and of course, following along with their schemes. I don’t think anyone could have talked them out of their plans because in their eyes, they were in the right and it would just take a bit of time for others to see that for themselves.

Heidi was so caught up in her own headspace, she wasn’t allowing herself to entertain the moment of being with Reid. There were moments where you thought they might realise their own affections for each other and yet, both were so strong willed they would tuck away from one another as soon as they even felt an emotional shift hovering between them. Reid was just as stubborn as Heidi – not wanting to admit his own heart was giving him reasons to reconsider where he stood in their relationship – as over the years, it had been maintained as a platonic friendship which had started in their youth. Now, they were both finding themselves in each others’ company much more often and yet, both of them couldn’t quite connect their hearts and their feelings together. All whilst Randel etched out reasons why both were hesitating to take a chance on a love they never expected to find. Randel fused the story with the emotional bits you’d hope to find in a relationship-based romance with the angst of trying to bridge two lives together which were fighting their own natural chemistry.

And, yet nothing quite prepares you for the life and death situations Randel places inside Heidi and Reid’s story to serve as a catalyst of enlightened change for all the characters involved. I’ll only say it involves fire, so if stories which have heavily dramatic scenes involving fire upset you, just know this one is a small scene at the end of the novel which packs quite the punch in regards to how it affects your own heart to read the passages involved. I generally find stories involving fire or wildfires the hardest to read myself but the ways in which Randel handled both the intensity of the scene and the ways in which she used that situation as a turning point for the story on all fronts, served as such a strong ending for a story I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I hope others who pick up this novel to read will find the same true for them as well.

One of the best scenes of the story was how Randel choose to bring the Golden Matchmakers Club into its official standing with the men and women in the ‘club’ itself choosing to band together for the good of the community. Each of the members of the club had something different to offer but they had a common goal which makes you smirk and smile; mostly because it is their love of Golden and the will to see this community continue to grow and develop into a destination others would appreciate finding to live out their own lives which endears you to the Club itself because of how their efforts are for the joy they can give to others. Their intentions might be honourable but its how they go about producing results which might blur the lines a bit on what could be considered interference – however, its how they bring lives together which entertained me the most and I can’t wait to read the next installment in this series!

-quoted from my review of Stealing Her Best Friend’s Heart

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A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | “Her Christmastime Family” (Golden Matchmaker’s Club series, Book Two) by Tara RandelHer Christmastime Family
Subtitle: The Golden Matchmaker's Club
by Tara Randel
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

A holiday match…

For a lifetime of love!

Creating new Christmas traditions is a priority for single mom Faith Harper. But the handsome widower next door, police officer Roan Donovan, is struggling to make the season merry for his two girls. Sunny Faith could brighten the holiday for Roan. And the way he protects his daughters touches her heart. Will facing their challenges together unite their families…and build a love to weather all seasons?

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

Christmas Romance Book Icon made by Jorie in Canva.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335426529

Also by this author: His One and Only Bride, His Honor, Her Family, Trusting Her Heart, Always the One, (#25PagePreview) of Stealing Her Best Friend's Heart, Stealing Her Best Friend's Heart

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 30th November, 2021

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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

Converse via: #Contemporary + #Romance and #HarlequinHeartwarming

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The Golden Matchmaker’s Club series:

Stealing Her Best Friend's Heart by Tara RandelHer Christmastime Family by Tara Randel

Stealing Her Best Friend’s Heart (Book One)
| see also Review |
Her Christmastime Family (Book Two)
His Small Town Dream
← forthcoming August, 2022!

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re-visits the small towne I fell in love with whilst reading two stories from the Meet Me At the Alter series: “Trusting Her Heart” & “His Honour, Her Family” – I am so grateful this new series continues to develop the towne and the characters I’ve come to know in this North Georgia mountain community!

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About Tara Randel

Tara Randel

USA Today Bestselling Author Tara Randel has enjoyed a lifelong love of books, especially romance and mystery genres, so it didn't come as a surprise when she began writing with the dream of becoming published. Family values, mystery and, of course, love and romance are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Tara lives on the West Coast of Florida, where gorgeous sunsets inspire the creation of heartwarming stories, filled with love, laughter and the occasional mystery.

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about the author’s note:

I positively love reading the notes ahead of the Heartwarming novels – you get to peer into the author’s world a bit by what their disclosing – either about something which corelates with their personal life into their fictional world(s) or what has inspired the current story and/or series. In this instance, it was lovely to have a glimpse into why Christmas is as important to Ms Randel as it is to myself and my own family. I know over the years we never quite sorted out how to modify our own family traditions during the Christmas holidays – given that our small close knit family has pared down considerably since my late teens and early twenties. Sometimes when you have a shortage of persons in your family due to their passing, it affects how you celebrate certain holidays in the future, or at least, that is true for my family.

Still, Christmas has always held a special place in my heart for a variety of reasons – not just for the celebration of what the season represents as most readers who have been following my blog for awhile now know how important my faith life is to me as I’ve commented about it on reviews featuring INSPY (ie. Inspirational Fiction or Non-Fiction) titles and stories but it is also because of how much Christmas meant to my family growing up as we would gather together, share traditions and find clever ways to make Christmas an interpersonal experience for us all.

It’s those memories which hold to your soul and those traditions which bring back such a beautiful bounty of joy which give you the best hope of tomorrow because family is such a dear part of my life. Like Ms Randel, I hope others have had the same experiences I’ve had over the years and will continue to be blessed to have them as well. For now, I’m excited to re-enter Golden to see how we’ve aligned ourselves into another member of the Golden Matchmakers Club selected person of interest! After Stealing Her Best Friend’s Heart, I know I’m in for a hearty drama and an uplifting surprise at the end!

my review of her christmastime family:

Faith is aptly named – although not in a way you might suspect. Sometimes I’ve found characters named Faith as a celebration of the faithfulness and hope their parents had before they were conceived and other times, I find characters who have this name live the truth of their name throughout the telling of their story. In this case, Faith hasn’t quite lost sight of a hopeful path into her future but she’s weathered and has felt the burdens in life weigh her down quite a bit. Though ever mindful of thoughts and actions, Randel knitted into Faith a resilience that she sometimes doesn’t quite feel is as real as snow but hopes to find the courage of conviction to believe again.

Faith is a single Mum raising a son and daughter whereas Roan is a single Dad raising two daughters; if anything, they already share a mutual understanding with each other but I had a feeling Randel was going to draw out the possibilities with them uniting together to give Faith and perhaps Roan too, a chance for personal growth. As she did this with Heidi and Reid as well. Sometimes love has to take a backseat to allow characters to rise into a path of where their hearts are more open to the potential of a connection and those of course, are some of my favourite kinds of relationship-based romances to read.

I positively love when a character like Roan decides for himself that he and only he can choose when he can fall in love – taking out serendipity and the natural ways in which paths can cross and become strengthened through friendship and connection. He’s quite the character – he has a massive level of guilt on his shoulders but its coupled with a lot of anger – something I am quite sure I’ll see Randel explore in more detail lateron in the storyline. He is a man of few words but its his internal thoughts which give way to his truer feelings which I felt was a kind blessing from Randel to include those in the context of the narrative as it helps guide us towards him rather than find him too obtuse. How he chooses to interact with Faith is half obliged duty and half curiosity which is also setting the scene well towards future interactions between the two but I had a feeling at this junction both of them were more open to exploring their own disciplined outlines for their futures than merging families and activities!

Of course, tucking close to the latest Matchmakers Club meeting was as delish as eating a slice of pie – each of the members had their own motivations for being in the Club but at the end of their meetings, there was one thing they could all agree on: one couple at a time and all for the common good of seeing people well matched. Even of course, if the couples in question aren’t interested in steady relationships, these members choose amongst themselves whose meant to be focused upon next and its the follies of their efforts which win over your own heart watching their antics towards that resolution! The Club has expanded its focus past Gayle Ann and Alveda, to where Wanda Sue is the current clubber whose daughter Faith is centerstage whilst Bunny and the retired Judge are waiting in the wings to have their selected persons worked on next which is where the continued growth of the series might expand in future installments. Either that, or any singleton in Golden might be a viable option for this Club! They truly love to meddle (with the best of intentions!) and get themselves into sticky situations when it comes to manipulating events to help steer people into each others’ path – that’s the folly I love to follow myself and to see how their suggestions lead into relationships!

As we get a more layered perspective into Faith and Roan’s lives, we start to see how intricately complicated a few of their entanglements are from the past. For Faith, her ex Lyle is quite the work and he’s in a category of his own for an absent and clueless father when it comes to not understanding how to put his children first in his life. Whereas with Roan, I felt aside from his emotional baggage from the loss of his wife, his greatest obstacle are how to balance his life with his children and their life with their grandparents. All whilst, in the background of Faith and Roan sorting out their lives and their growing attraction to each other are the Matchmakers who continue to leave me in a fit of giggles and smirks watching how they continue to intervene in a lovingly manner of randomness to push Faith and Roan closer together.

When it comes to in-laws and the ways in which they don’t always respect the choices parents make for their children, Randel creates the perfect portrait of how Roan has to sort out his approach to keeping both his sanity and his independence when it comes to his own in-laws. You feel for him as he tries to navigate this difficult road and to find the balances he needs for not just his own self-confidence as a single father but for the healing and reconciling of the relationships he has with his daughters. His mother-in-law for instance is quite the work and if she could just step outside her own selfish opinions for half a second, you’d think she’d get a better clue about how to be a better grandparent! Erstwhile, Faith is finding how hard it is to not allow your past to be indicative of your future, as Golden has a long memory but sometimes fails a bit to accept that time not only repairs misdeeds but it is also allows people time to find the growth to carry-on after a more reckless youth.

I personally loved this story – the Christmassy backdrop endears your heart – as you tuck close to Faith and Roan as they cross-navigate how to bring Christmas back into their children’s lives; not an easy task for either of them but even as their muddling through it, there is immense random joy which is fully enjoyed by the reader! From tree lightning ceremonies to family friendly community events, this is the type of small towne that goes the extra mile to let everyone – young and old – find the curiously fun joys Christmas can bring into your life. Those moments combined with the relationship being explored between Faith and Roan, make this a lovely new addition to your #ChristmasReads. The best bit too is the joy you’ll have watching two neighbours finding out the best gift at Christmas is the one your not expecting to receive.

On the Contemporary Romance styling of Ms Randel:

Even if you’re not as familiar with Winter as other readers, Randel has a way of capturing the dangers of cold weather for you. As we first began to get to know Faith, the first danger of course is the one of the missing presence of ‘heat’ due to the temperatures continuing to drop outside. Meanwhile, IRL I believe most of the Western, Mid-Western and Mid-Atlantic states right now are most likely hoping for a reprieve from Old Man Winter as the snow loads are some of the highest we’ve had in recent years. I feel for those stuck on icy roads and blizzard swept neighbourhoods.

In this instance, Randel gives us a bit of a meet-cute moment between Faith and Roan – as its not quite that kind of a scene but she pushes them together for the common goal of sorting out Faith’s absent furnace! Since one of my favourite films (a favourite I inherited from my Mum!) is Baby Boom, having bits of a house or a rental fall apart or lapse in working order is par for course. I definitely knew that the close proximity to Faith and Roan’s living arrangements were going to continue to bring these two families together but the best bits of course, is watching how Randel is going to temper their natural curiosities about each other into a lasting relationship.

As the story expands, Randel hugs us close to the moments where Roan has to accept his current emotional state isn’t a healthy one for moving past grief and loss. This comes to play when his eldest daughter (she’s eleven) had a bit of an intervention type talk with her father about what is absent in their lives and his aversion to Christmas which sets the background for their story. Roan isn’t one who has natural instincts about Christmas or how to celebrate the festive holiday due to his own growing up years. Yet, it is through his daughter’s eyes he has a fresher perspective about what he’s doing wrong and what he’s doing right in regards to navigating life post-death of a spouse and how to wrangle a new path as a single father. Those moments are heartwarming to view in the story and Randel’s depth and understanding of how to focus on the humanness of those moments makes the story very real and tangible to the reader. I appreciated her candor too, of how she knits in conversations with Faith and Roan as well, to better round out the balance of how single parenthood is a complex and evolving path to walk.

Randel definitely embodies the emotional dramas of life well with a merger of the hopefulness of connecting not just with someone who understands you in life but with the person who has the same hope for themselves as you do for your own future. It is that kind of serendipitous approach to celebrate a Christmastime romance which serves well in this novel but also gives the reader a lot of hearty IRL similarities to chew on as they move forward into the characters’ lives. I definitely have become a fan of Randel’s style of Heartwarming novels and series, and this one, set in Golden is a top favourite of hers for me.

The third installment is rumoured to be about Bunny’s nephew which will be a delight to read but I’m much more interested in Gayle Ann and Harry’s budding romance in the background of the series! I sensed this is why the Judge was getting involved with the Matchmakers because he had a growing affection for Gayle Ann, but Randel only gave us little snippets of this evolving through the background of the stories until the final chapter of course of Her Christmastime Family wherein you see more of what ‘could be’ in the future for them as well. This is definitely a series I am loving to discover and to read as Randel has made Golden a favourite towne to revisit!

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This novel was originally toured

via the blog tour courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

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Her Christmastime Family blog tour banner provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

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By clicking this badge you’ll be able to backtrack through the blog tour – finding more posts by the book bloggers who took part in the tour itself, their reactions to the story and other lovely additions to the route. All the blog tours I host with Prism have a variety of stops & posts to enjoy visiting and I encourage you to click these badges in order to find where to travel next!

Before you leave, remember to read my reactions and ruminative thoughts on behalf of Stealing Her Best Friend’s Heart!! Featured during my first #SaturdaysAreBookish of the New Year, followed by Searching for Home a Love Inspired Contemporary Romance novel on the 11th of January which is also a featured Prism Book Tour!

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it.
I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst
readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read.
Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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LibraryThing banner provided by librarything.com and used with permission.

This review is cross-posted to LibraryThing.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Stealing Her Best Friend’s Heart” and “Her Christmastime Family” as well as the book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of Tara Randel and blog tour banner were all provided by Prism Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. LibraryThing banner provided by LibraryThing.com and is used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #RomanceTuesdays banner, Christmas Romance icon and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2022.

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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 Tuesday, 4 January, 2022 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA

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