Series: Hardman Holidays #5
Published by Wholesome Hearts Publishing on 2016-11-10
Length: 283 pages
Reviewing Kindle from Amazon
Reading Challenges: 2021 Finishing the Series Reading Challenge, COYER 2021
Holiday surprises await two lonely hearts in Hardman
A sweet holiday romance from USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield
Tom Grove just needs to survive a month at home while he recovers from a work injury. How bad can it be to return to Hardman for the holiday season? He arrives to discover his middle-aged parents acting like newlyweds, the school in need of a teacher, and the girl of his dreams already engaged.
After the loss of her parents and her fiancé abandoning her to spend a year abroad, Lila Granger desires a change of scenery. She leaves her home in New York to spend a few months with relatives in Hardman, Oregon. The idea of stepping off the train into a place that gives her a true sense of coming home never entered her mind. Neither did the notion of falling in love with a man who clearly can’t wait to get away from the small town.
The Christmas Quandary is a sweet Victorian romance, full of laughter and heartwarming moments, perfect for a holiday read.
The Christmas Quandry by Shanna Hatfield is the fifth installment of her historical series Hardman Holidays. I thoroughly enjoy this series and look forward to reading it each year. It’s an older series that’s been out for a while and is fully complete for those that like to binge read series 😉 In this installment, we see a grown up Tom Grove find his happily ever after when he returns home for the Christmas holiday with a new character, Miss Lila Granger, Luke and Ginny’s younger cousin.
Tom is one of my favorite characters, and I was excited to realize this book was mostly from his POV. He is kind and empathetic to those around him. He genuinely has a good heart, and it’s been fun seeing his character grow up during the series. The book starts with Tom arriving in Hardman after an on-the-job injury puts him out of work while he is healing. He can’t exactly type a news article and chase down stories with a broken severely broken arm (crushed in the printing press). On arrival he finds that Alex and Arlan are expecting a new little one, and the pregnancy is taking a toll on her. Tom is asked to take over teaching duties until after the holidays when Alex should be feeling better, and there to help him is Lila.
I love Lila! She sees life as an adventure, and mischief constantly dances in her eyes. It’s easy to understand Tom’s instant attraction to her. She reminds him of his own mother in her joy for life. Despite the hardships she’s faced in the last year (losing both her parents in a horrific accident), she meets each new day with a smile. The only problem is she is already engaged to another. Knowing there is no future for them, Tom tries (and fails) to put distance between them, but the heart wants what the heart wants. I loved seeing this relationship evolve from friendship to something more. The two characters are written so beautifully, and their heart ache and love shines through to the reader.
Overall, I loved The Christmas Quandry. Tom and Lila are easy to root for. The historical fiction piece is on the lighter side, yet it is still there. The author’s notes at the end of the book point out the liberties she’s taken as well as the true historical pieces. I highly recommend this one to anyone looking for a holiday romance.