Title: Evergreen Springs
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
My Rating: B
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Haven Point #3
Main Characters:Cole and Devin
Release Date: September 2015
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: mild
Christmas is the last thing Cole Barrett is thinking about this year. He's barely hanging on trying to care for his two grieving children since his ex-wife died in a tragic accident. For the reclusive Cole, this is no time for gift-giving and celebration—and certainly not for a sunny-natured optimist to blow into his screwed-up life.
In the years since her cancer treatments, physician Devin Shaw has researched the curative powers of Lake Haven's mineral waters. Unfortunately, the hot springs are on Barrett property, forcing Devin to strike a bargain with the ranch's attractively gruff owner: she'll give Cole's children the magical Christmas they deserve, and Cole will allow her patients access to the springs. But can she work her holiday magic to heal the Barrett family's battered hearts—and her own?
A doctor and an ex-con, alcoholic...not your typical romance pairing which is where the conflict for this story comes in, too, because that's exactly the way Cole thinks. There is no way Devin could be interested in him. He has too much baggage, made too many mistakes in his life. But she is interested. She's also interested in his two kids...ages 6 & 8...who just lost their mom and are dealing with a difficult Christmas season with an overwhelmed father. Devin can't stand by and let them all suffer through the season without any help. At her heart, she's a nurturer.
This is another sweet, g-rated romance from RaeAnne Thayne. I like these books because they have good angst-filled, emotionally deep characters, but they still remain light Christmas reads. The scenery is gorgeous and definitely evoke all the scents and sights of Christmas. Reading one of her Christmas books is like settling in for a good Hallmark holiday movie. They leave you with a warm, happy feeling, with a few heart-wrenching emotions along the way.
I liked both Cole and Devin. They are great characters and the cast is rounded out by some really interesting and deep side-stories involving Cole's family. His ex-wife just died, so his 6 yo son and 8 yo daughter are living with him for the first time. The 8 yo isn't adjusting well and has a difficult personality. Also living on the ranch is Cole's estranged father who's trying to rebuild a relationship with his son...something Cole wants no part of. His sister also lives there, but is in the hospital on bed rest because she's 9 months pregnant with twins and is estranged from her husband.
There's a lot of interesting family dynamics at play here and a lot of past sins that need forgiveness. This is a story that dwells heavily on fathers and their relations and mistakes they make with their kids...and we watch 3 fathers try to muddle through.
I enjoyed reading the book. It's a sweet story...no sex on the page, so it's truly a wholesome holiday read. I've read this one and the one right before this one in the series and enjoyed them both. But all the books in this series work perfectly well as stand-alone. Pick up any of them, and I guarantee you won't be lost in the story line.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.