Wednesday, October 30, 2013

ARC REVIEW ~Take Me Home for Christmas by Brenda Novak~

Title: Take Me Home for Christmas
Author: Brenda Novak
Series: Whiskey Creek #5
Release Date: October 29, 2013

My Review: 4.5 Stars
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?
First off, this is my first ever Brenda Novak novel and let me just say that after I finished Take Me Home for Christmas I went and added all of her books to my TBR list. Take Me Home for Christmas is such a wonderful story. I know everyone that is a Whiskey Creek Series fan has been looking forward to Ted and Sophia's story and now I know why. This story completely warmed my heart at some parts and almost broke it in others. We start with Sophia's husband having disappeared. As a single mother left penniless and alone Sophia struggles to make ends meet while the townspeople continue to make her life hell at every turn. There are a few exceptions. Even though some of his friends invested money with Sophia's ex and lost everything they invested, Ted and his close group of friends refuse to hold Sophia responsible for for her husband's crimes. And while the townspeople are demanding their slice of the pie back Sophia is struggling to hold on to anything that she has left. I was so outraged at the way Sophia was treated, I understand the hurt these people went through but Sophia graciously offered them anything she had to help repay them and they still demanded more. Villain of the Year award goes to Chief Stacy. He was the ring leader of the backlash against Sophia and I was so wishing that he would get a taste of his own medicine. Meanwhile, Ted reaches out a helping hand to Sophia, and while she would love to refuse, she had to swallow her pride and think logically. The exchanges between Ted and Sophia made me laugh with their banter and ache with their sadness. These two have such a complicated past to work out and it takes some time amidst all of the other current drama surrounding them. 

This book gave me so many mixed emotions. There were times when I could completely understand Ted and his decisions and other times where I just wanted to shake him or slap him upside the head. Same goes for Sophia. She started out rocky but, with the help of Eve she got back on track. However, she is dealing with much more than the loss and betrayal of her husband and the hatred of the town. Sophia has a secret that not too many people know about. She thought she had her situation under control, until the stress begins to wear on her and her demons find her in a moment of weakness. I really felt for Sophia, and her daughter, Alexa. They have been through so much and are still able to hold their heads up and push through. Ted is a big helping factor in Sophia's ability to turn her life around. Ted on the other hand is confused up one side and down the other. He can't fathom how he got into his current predicament and he begins to act rash. In my opinion, total human reaction. He can't control a part of his life, so he goes and potentially screws up another part of it. Eventually, he is able to work it all through but, it takes some understanding and trust from the people in his life. 

As a whole I absolutely loved this book. It is gut-wrenching, and heart-warming. Hilarious and devastating. It is a romance but, it tells a much bigger and grander story than a couple finding love. It's a story of a second chance at love, a woman righting her wrongs, a man learning to trust and love again, a woman becoming her own person again and so much more. Take Me Home for Christmas engaged and hypnotized me and I am so thrilled to have read it. Trust me when I say you will not regret reading this book. Brenda Novak wrote a beautiful story and I cannot wait to return to Whiskey Creek. Side note to Whiskey Creek Lovers: You do get quite a few glimpses of your favorite characters from past books in Take Me Home for Christmas. For Whiskey Creek Newbies: This is #5 in a series, but I didn't feel lost a bit. Ms. Novak gives you just enough information about the other couples to entice you to go read their stories but, I don't believe there are any major spoilers. I also want to thank Brenda for reaching out to me and asking me to review this book, it was truly wonderful and has been added to my favorites for 2013!

Happy Reading!
*ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*
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