Make sure you check out author Nicole Helm’s guest post about her favorite Christmas traditions here!
BIG SKY CHRISTMAS
Thack Lane has his hands full. For the past seven years, he’s been struggling to move on from his wife’s tragic death and raise a daughter all by his lonesome. He doesn’t have time for himself, much less a cheerful new neighbor with a smile that can light up the ranch.
Christmas spirit? Bah, humbug.
With Christmas right around the corner, Summer Shaw is searching for somewhere to belong. When her neighbor’s young daughter takes a shine to her, she is thrilled. But Thack is something else altogether. He’s got walls around his heart that no amount of holiday wishes can scale. Yet as joy comes creeping back to the lonely homestead, Summer and Thack may just find their happily ever after before the last of the Christmas miracles are through…
My first book by this author, but it definitely won’t be my last!
True-Blue Cowboy Christmas is the third book in the Big Sky Cowboys series; it worked okay as a standalone, but I did wish I had read the first two books not so much for their main characters (Summer’s brother and sister and their significant others) but to get more of Summer’s backstory early on–I did feel a bit like I was playing catch up at the beginning of this one, not quite knowing what her story was. It wasn’t a major issue, I just felt out of the loop early on.
That said, I really liked Summer, Thack, and Kate (Thack’s seven-year-old daughter)’s story. Ms. Helm did a great job digging into the emotional state of a guy who’s been a widower since his daughter was tiny; it was hard not to feel for both him and Kate as they struggled between his need to keep her safe and protected and her need to find a friend. Summer’s mental state was a bit trickier to fully understand, because we don’t truly “get” what living with her mom must have been like until we near the end of the book, though she does give us clues along the way. It’s a freaking miracle that she’s managed to turn out as sunny and upbeat as she has, let me tell you–her mother is truly something else.
But back to the main story…I thoroughly enjoyed watching Thack and Summer go from two people who didn’t much like and definitely didn’t trust one another to friends to something more. Little Katie was a refreshing mix of sweet and snarky ‘tude–all I can say is Thack better watch out when that girl gets to her teen years! Good thing he’s got Summer now, because he’s going to need all the backup he can get. 😉
The ending of this one really ramps up the intense factor; I had to go to work in the middle of it and it kept me distracted all morning long until I could finally finish on my lunch break. The holiday setting of the story is nicely balanced with everything else that’s going on (we actually see the characters go from Halloween to Christmas as the story progresses)–it’s there and a part of what’s going on, especially for Summer who’s still trying to find her own place in the family she’d never had before–but it doesn’t hit you over the head with holiday spirit.
Now it’s time to back up and read Mel and Caleb’s stories 🙂
Rating: 4 stars / A-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.