Long, Tall Christmas by Janet Dailey Release Date: September 29, 2015 Publisher: Zebra Contemporary Romance/Holiday M/F Book #1 in the Cowboy Christmas series Number of Pages: approx. 400 Paperback Source: Warren Public Library Rating: PG Read 10/9/17 to 10/15/17
This book was put on my radar when I read an ARC of Just a Little Christmas and realized it was the 3rd in this series. Of course, I had to go back and read from the beginning. I love holiday romance books and hate not reading a series from the start. (A quick note for those that actually pay attention to the “date read” information: I did not have a lot of daylight reading time once I picked this book up. Since it is a paperback copy I actually had to put it aside for a few days. So no, it didn’t really take me almost a week to read this book. It’s actually a quick read.)
Shane Taggert is such a lovely, understated hero in this story. He has a slight swagger and a low level of cocky-ness, but he knows (or thinks?) his past puts a blemish on his reputation. He helps people because that’s who he is, not because it’s how he wants to be seen. He is a kind soul, even though when we first meet him it doesn’t seem that way.
Kylie and her kids, on the other hand, are something else. I know they’ve been through a terrible ordeal. I know life isn’t fair. But the way Kylie forgives some of the tantrums from her children in the beginning is annoying. Then she has the audacity to question if Shane is going to “influence” her son, Hunter, in a negative way. So judgmental! I actually came around to liking the kids far before Kylie wormed her way into my good graces.
Aunt Muriel and Henry are my favorite characters of all. So wise and calm in all that happens through the book. Which, by the way, takes place over the course of just a few days. Even when Kylie’s daughter, Amy, is being a brat and ungrateful, Muriel understand and has sage words to impart on the group.
Overall, this is a sweet (and somewhat bittersweet) story. The lengths Kylie goes to in order to provide her children a “perfect” Christmas are insane, but still thoughtful. If only she would realize they expect these things because she gave them such expectations. At least the kids seem to start understanding that even if she doesn’t.
And here comes some of my nitpicking. Sometimes I can’t help it when it comes to military matters. I lived in San Diego for 10 years as a Navy wife. During that time I only knew of one very small group of Army personnel and they were in food services. I find it extremely hard to believe Kylie’s husband was stationed (as an officer!) in San Diego, let alone that they would feel they would be there long enough to purchase a home there. Then she can’t make ends meet? What happened to his life insurance? This is always an issue with me in this type of books. They always make it seem the spouse and/or kids were left destitute. Only the extremely irresponsible service members do not take the government up on the offered life insurance. And it would not leave a family struggling the way Kylie’s family was. And then it somehow took them 4 days to drive from San Diego to Texas? We drove back and forth from San Diego to Detroit quite a few times and that didn’t even take us 4 days. That is some crazy slow driving that woman was doing if it took her that long to drive. Did she feel she could only drive for 5 hours a day? Things like these at the beginning of a book set my brain up to spot other little blunders along the way. Things I may otherwise overlook. I hate that! Okay, rant over.
Regardless of my little paragraph of annoyances, I still enjoyed the story and will read the next book. I’ve gotten glimpses of the sheriff in both books I’ve read so I’m ready to read his story.