Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Take Me Home for Christmas by Brenda Novak

Title: Take Me Home for Christmas
Author: Brenda Novak
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Whiskey Creek #
Main Characters: Sophia and Ted
Release Date: October 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Purchase Links: 
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Christmas is a time for remembering….

Too bad all memories aren't pleasant. Everyone in Whiskey Creek remembers Sophia DeBussi as the town's Mean Girl. Especially Ted Dixon, whose love she once scorned.

But Sophia has paid the price for her youthful transgressions. The man she did marry was rich and powerful but abusive. So when he goes missing, she secretly hopes he'll never come back—until she learns that he died running from an FBI probe of his investment firm. Not only has he left Sophia penniless, he's left her to face all the townspeople he cheated….

Sophia is reduced to looking for any kind of work to pay the bills and support her daughter. With no other options, she becomes housekeeper for none other than Ted, now a successful suspense writer. He can't bring himself to turn his back on her, not at Christmas, but he refuses to get emotionally involved. He learned his lesson the last time.

Or will the season of love and forgiveness give them both another chance at happiness?

My Review:
This book could be titled "Learning How to Survive the Mistakes I've Made." Wow...Sophia's life is a mess and it makes this book a bit difficult to read. Flat out....she made the wrong choice when she was a teenager and got involved with her husband, Skip, leaving Ted behind and heartbroken. It wasn't long before she realized that, but by that time she was stuck. This book is entirely about unraveling the mess that her life has become in the 14 years since....and it's painful as a reader to watch a character hurt this much. This is definitely NOT your typical romance book. In fact, there isn't much in the way of the romantic story line until the very end...and that makes it hard, too. 

Okay, so to the story. In Whiskey Creek, there is a group of friends who meet for Friday morning coffees. Through the books, we've seen Ted and his bitterness toward Sophia. We've also seen that Sophia is in a very bad place in her marriage to Skip...he's abusive, but has a lot of money so she can't leave him because he will get their daughter. Sophia is also an alcoholic....14 years of just trying to survive a physically and mentally abusive husband, she turned to alcohol to cope. 

When they were teenagers, Ted was at college and Sophia was his girlfriend at home. Somehow she hooked up with Skip and got pregnant....but there were reasons for that. You find that out as a reader, BUT....and this is my ONE HUGE COMPLAINT about this book....Ted never knows the real reasons behind that hook-up. *gah* He needed to know that....just so there is some closure for them and what went on with them then and the hurt it caused both of them. 

But first and foremost, Ted is flat-out a nice guy. He doesn't like Sophia much anymore, but no one is willing to help her and her teenager when their lives completely and totally fall apart. They are on the brink of living in an alley and he just can't stand by and let that happen, no matter how much she hurt him, so he takes them in and gives her a job as his housekeeper. Most of the book is about Sophia trying to take control of her life again. Ted's there too and provides the strength and support she needs, but this book is really about her struggle and transformation. 

Ted is making his own bad choices, trying to stay away from Sophia and the feelings he still has for her. I had a hard time with the choices he made in this book. I understood why, but it was a mistake on so many levels and I like my heroes to be a little less human/real. So yeah, not your normal romance novel.

But with all that being said, this book was completely and totally riveting. I didn't want to put it down. Like watching a train wreck, I couldn't look away. I liked getting to read Ted & Sophia's story, but it wasn't an easy one to read. It definitely affected me emotionally, so huge Bravo to Brenda Novak...once again....amazing story telling here!


Deb said...

Opps in your post you put Molly O'Keefe as the author to Take Me Home for Christmas and it is by Brenda Novak.


Christi Snow said...

Thanks, Deb. That's where I get into trouble with copy/paste...LOL. fixed now. Thank you!!

Deb said...

YW! Hey it happens to me as well. LOL!