Happy Tuesday y’all! It’s day two of our Christmas in July feature, and today I’m sharing a review from one of my favorite holiday series, Hardman Holidays. If you are a historical romance fan, I highly recommend this sweet marriage of convenience story set in a small western town at the turn of the century.
Series: Hardman Holidays #4
Published by Wholesome Hearts Publishing on 2015-11-12
Length: 292 pages
Reviewing Kindle from Amazon
Reading Challenges: 2021 Finishing the Series Reading Challenge, COYER 2021
He returns home to bury his best friend and his past, never expecting to fall in love with the woman who destroyed his heart.
Columbia River Pilot Adam Guthry reluctantly returns to his hometown of Hardman, Oregon, to pay his last respects after the sudden death of his life-long best friend. Emotions he can’t contain bubble to the surface the moment he sees the girl who shattered his heart eleven years ago.
Widow Tia Devereux escapes her restrictive life in Portland, returning to the home she knew and loved as a girl in Hardman. She and her four-year-old son, Toby, settle into the small Eastern Oregon community, eager for the holiday season. Unfortunately, the only man she’s ever loved shows up, stirring the embers of a long-dead romance into a blazing flame.
When her former father-in-law, a corrupt judge, decides he wants to raise Toby, Adam may be the only hope she has of keeping her son.
The Christmas Vow by Shanna Hatfield is the fourth book in her series Hardman Holidays, a sweet historical holiday romance. Each book in the series features a different couple in the western town of Hardman around the turn of the century. I love revisiting each year, meeting new characters, and seeing how life changes in the little town from year to year. In this installment, we meet Adam Guthry, Arlan’s older brother, who returns to town for his best friend’s funeral and Tia Devereux, Adam’s old sweetheart who broke his heart when she married another and never returned home. Fate is giving them a second chance, the question is will they take it.
I both liked and disliked Adam. He was so quick to believe the worst in Tia. He never stopped to consider that she may have had feelings for him and that his weren’t clear for her. Instead he threw himself into work and tried to forget her. As a Columbia River Pilot, Adam’s job is both dangerous and time-consuming. He has little time to think of her or start a new relationship. Now nearly ten years later and taking a much needed break at the holidays, he has no choice but to confront the feelings he once had for her.
I loved Tia. She was a young girl when she met her first husband who treated her like a queen. Thinking that Adam would never propose, she was quick to accept this man’s proposal and never returned home. It was a mistake she regretted often. But the one thing she couldn’t regret was the son her marriage gave her. Little Toby is a godsend. He is so much fun in this book, bringing levity when needed but also some of the most heartfelt conversations that brought tears to my eyes. Now a widow, Tia is home, raising her little boy alone. While lonely, she is content with her life until Adam arrives back in town and all the what-if’s and might-have-been’s plague her once more.
The story revolves around Adam and Tia’s past and current relationship. When Tia’s father-in-law threatens to take Toby in a custody battle, Adam steps in vowing to protect them both. I love the dynamic here. The tension from her father-in-law and the marriage of convenience to keep Toby creates plenty of heartache and drama. I found myself rooting for the two of them early on. And I just love Toby.
Overall, I enjoyed The Christmas Vow. It’s exactly what I’ve come to expect from the series, a sweet romance with a HEA. If you enjoy historical romance, I highly recommend it.
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