Tis the season for family and love…
At least it’s supposed to be. For Libby Leeds, however, the holiday season is just another reminder of things she’d rather forget. When she left Sanctuary Island as an orphaned child, she never thought she’d go back except in her dreams, dreams she’s kept alive by writing monthly column of her fictional small-town life, until her publisher sends her back home for the holidays.
Owen Shepard is a fallen hero, wounded in action rescuing three of his fellow soldiers, but after a whirlwind of media attention, all this charismatic Army Ranger wants is to get back on his feet and make it to Sanctuary Island to be with his daughter in time for Christmas. What he didn’t expect was to be put on a crash course with a columnist hiding her past. Will the magic of Sanctuary Island at Christmastime allow them to find healing together?
(Yes, I am aware that it’s barely October, but every month is Christmas here with the Book Gannet! Er… Or, rather more likely, there are lots of lovely books coming out now and I’m not about to say no, even if I refuse to accept that summer is gone, let alone that winter is almost here. So deck the library shelves and go with it, because there will be many more between here and December.)
Source: ARC from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley
If you’re looking for something sweet, cuddly and undemanding with plenty of Christmas cheer, then this book definitely fits the bill. Libby is a sweet woman who doesn’t go out much and spends most of days inside her tiny apartment dreaming up a perfect life while writing her magazine columns and supporting her sick uncle. The trouble is that no one but Libby knows that she doesn’t actually live on Sanctuary Island, nor is she married or have any chickens. In fact she’s a total fraud, but people love her column and it pays for her uncle to stay in a really good care facility, so she does what she has to.
So it’s easy to see how she ends up blackmailed by her editor into reconciling with her grumpy grandfather, heading back to the island and somehow learning to cook in less than a month in order to throw a perfect Christmas for a wounded veteran and his young daughter. Even if she didn’t have the stress of caring for her uncle hanging over her head, Libby probably would have done it anyway. Only with less lies.
I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Libby actually as the daft situation tumbles out of her control, thanks to her autocratic Grandfather and her bit-too-helpful cousin. None of which is helped when she meets the wounded vet in question and falls for him. I have to say I liked Libby a lot more than Owen. He’s so busy convincing himself he has to go back to his men that he completely ignores the daughter in front of him, and even when he begins to bond with Caitlin, it was hard to feel good about it when he was being so stubborn.
And if I’m honest I had a few issues with the swift and amazing recovery of a man told he probably wouldn’t walk again. I know he’s determined, but really, the progress he makes on the island is astonishing. There’s also the fact that while everyone else in America seems to read Libby’s columns, no one on Sanctuary Island does or else they’d have spotted her fakery ages ago. I also wanted to smack a certain cousin around the back of the head for ever thinking pretending to have a wife in order to win back another woman was a good idea. Idiot.
However, most of that is fairly unimportant because of how much I enjoyed seeing Libby change and grow throughout the story as she finds out more about her family and learns how to live out her dreams. It’s all very cute and fluffy and clean, and probably a little too sweet for some tastes, but it feels like a warm blanket hug on a chilly night and is definitely filled with all the warmth and charm you could want from this season. It also left me wanting to know more about Sanctuary Island, so I hope to make a return visit soon.
Home for Christmas is out October 6th!
Visit Lily Everett for more details.