Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of , 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 “The Single Dad’s Holiday Match” direct from the author Tanya Agler in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
*waves!* Hallo, Hallo dear hearts,
I wanted to preface my review this #RomanceTuesdays with an apology to the author (Ms Agler) about the lateness in which this review is arriving on my blog, Jorie Loves A Story. I was struck down last week with a beast of a migraine – which did blindside me as I have been quite blessed this year with a reduction in frequencies of my migraines as compared to past years (especially the 2018/19 seasons) however, in September, 2021 I had a clustering attack of migraines and this past week, I was unfortunately offline due to another migraine which just wrecked my hours with its presence. I get the kind of migraines where screens (ie. online spaces), lights and even text (ie. reading books) can affect me quite dearly. I hadn’t even realised I had missed my tour stop this past week as I was so consumed with my migraine, you could say it blighted it out of my memory. For that, I apologise.
Generally, I can get on top of things a bit faster or rebound back a bit quicker – as I had planned to read this lovely ahead of the weekend (on Friday and Saturday) whilst posting this on Saturday afternoon, however, my weekend didn’t quite get off the ground as I had planned it would and I apparently needed a bit of extra time to transition back into reading as well. As luck would have it – blessedly, the tour is running through Wednesday the 13th, which is why I scheduled this to run during my #RomanceTuesdays as a final hoorah for the tour itself and as a way of shining a happy light at the end of the tour on a series and author I’ve continued to enjoy reading and discovering!
As you know, I LOVE Heartwarming series and this one is a unique situation where you have a trilogy of stories interlinked into Hollydale and now, there is a lovely new mini-series attached to Hollydale which begins with this novel: The Single Dad’s Holiday Match!
Now without further adieu,… let’s get back to the blog tour today!
If you caught sight of my #BestBooksOf2020 you know “A Ranger for the Twins” was a winner of my Cuppa Book Love Awards – which you can read about HERE!
On where I last left my adventures in Hollydale:
Happily read through my Harlequin Heartwarming archives!
As Agler had written one of my favourite Romance novels from 2020 – I was truly delighted to be caught inside this novel for 2021! She was touching on all the elements I love in a Contemporary Romance – a small towne setting, two bull-headed adults who want the best for someone but might not know how to communicate with each other towards that end and of course, at the heart of it all – a slow brewing romance which is about to upset the plans for the lead characters! I loved the quirkiness of how the story began – from the perspective of how Aidan’s first impression of Natalie was the wrong one because he was reading more into her words than what were there to be heard. Whereas with Natalie she’s on the defensive due to how much it aches her to even consider a life and world without Danny; the young boy she was given guardianship over since his Mum died.
The part of the opening chapters which held my eye the most was when Agler had her heroine of this story overhear what defines family from her Mum to the child she shares guardianship with an Uncle stationed overseas. There is deep rooted tragedy in the origins of this story but at the bedrock of the characters’ lives is a wealth of hope and a light of promise filtering through their lives, too. I loved how Agler focused on where they were in their lives a few months after the tragedy as it showed how much Natalie wants things to change for Danny and how much she aches to learn if she is able to stay in his life once his Uncle Aidan returns home from overseas. It is one of those uniquely non-conventional families which I was loving to see develop as it isn’t oft non-conventional families are showcased in Contemporary Romance. Blessedly I’ve noticed an uptick of inclusion within the Harlequin Heartwarming line of romances and I was thankful to read this one by Agler after having felt charmed by A Ranger for the Twins.
If I hadn’t watched the entire series of Army Wives over the last year, I might not have picked up on the subtle reasons why Aidan was being such a difficult person to deal with as he realised his chances of taking Danny out of state were dwindling now that he knew how hard Natalie would fight for custody. The irony of course is his misunderstanding about her remarks when they first met and that reminded me a lot of Frank from Army Wives – as he tended to see things more literally rather than figuratively – which caused a lot of grief in his marriage. However, back to the story at hand – what was interesting to me were the layers Agler was building to the drama behind the premise of the novel.
I loved how she didn’t waste time getting Aidan and Natalie in front of a lawyer and how quickly she wanted to make the case for both Aidan and Natalie to show why they equally had a motive in wanting to keep custody of Danny. It was an interesting premise from the jump start as this is a case involving co-guardianship of a young boy whom both guardians are not the biological custodial parent but rather, Aidan is the boy’s biological Uncle (though the mother was his half sibling) and Natalie was the mother’s best friend. This is one of those more complicated adoption cases where a person’s will and final intentions before death are being brought to life and court.
Agler has a way of knitting you into the heart of their lives – digging deep and expounding on the emotional side of trying to resolve a custody battle between two guardians who aren’t the best at communicating with each other nor understanding where the others is coming from in regards to why their each fighting so hard towards the same end goal. I was definitely hooked quite immediately after Aidan showed up in the park and throughout the passages in the book where he’s trying to assert himself as the predominant reason why the court should lean in his favour but he has a few misguided reasons behind that train of logic which I was looking forward to seeing Agler explore in more detail. Especially about his concept about how love is co-dependent on biology and how custody should only concern those with biological connections.
What I loved most is the ways in which Agler took us on this journey with her characters – to show how life doesn’t have to be deadlocked into one singular plan nor be scheduled within an inch of insanity for missing out on the smaller moments which give life fuller meaning. Agler has a gift for curating a natural rhythm of pacing within a slow burning romance wherein you feel for the characters and for the adversities their facing because of how authentically true their lives have been told by Agler. I definitely will be seeking out more stories from her in future but I also want to get a copy of the first novel The Sheriff’s Second Chance and re-read this trilogy start to finish!
-quoted from my review for The Soldier’s Unexpected Family
If you love reading Harlequin Heartwarming & the reviews I am sharing
kindly let me know if we’re reading the same authors and/or if you think I need to add someone to my TBR to be read as soon as I can get my hands on their books!!
Where my journey into Hollydale began:
The Hollydale series:
The Sheriff’s Second Chance (book one) – Mike and Georgie’s story *need to acquire a copy!
A Ranger for the Twins (book two) – Caleb and Lucie’s story (see also Review)
The Soldier’s Unexpected Family (book three) Aidan and Natalie’s story (see also Review)
*Please note: I noticed there is a connection with all of these stories being set inside the small towne of Hollydale and have chosen to collect them into a ‘series’ as they are a series by setting – however, I am not sure if they have been officially named as either a collection and/or a series or continuity with Harlequin Heartwarming as there isn’t a series name on the books nor on their informational pages online. I collected them together for my own frame of reference and for other readers and visitors to my blog Jorie Loves A Story who likes to read series in order and/or meet stories in order of how they were first disclosed.
Finally sorted: This was a trilogy and the series is officially called: Heroines of Hollydale!!
Where my journey into Hollydale continues:
the Smoky Mountain First Responders mini-series:
'Tis the season…
For unexpected love!
Officer Jonathan Maxwell is just as devoted to his job as he is to his two young daughters, leaving zero time for a social life. Until he meets Brooke Novak. The newly hired community center director is a single parent, too, and also part of his latest investigation. Jonathan needs Brooke’s help if he's going to close his case by Thanksgiving…but she might be the biggest distraction from keeping his mind on his job.
Places to find the book:
Published by Harlequin Heartwarming
on 28th September, 2021
The Single Dad’s Holiday Match (book one) – Jonathan and Brooke’s story
The Paramedic’s Forever Family (book two) – *forthcoming in 2022!
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: #TanyaAgler and #HarlequinHeartwarming