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.
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
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.
Places to find the book:
Published by Harlequin Heartwarming
on 5th November, 2019
The Shores of Indian Lake series:
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
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- #blogmas 2019