A Home for the Holidays (Holly, Idaho) – ARC review

A Home for the Holidays
by Jeannie Watt
Release Date: October 22, 2020
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Book #1 in the Holly, Idaho series
Number of pages:  168
Source:  ARC from publisher
Contemporary Romance/Holidays M/F
Rating: PG
Read 10/19/20 to 10/20/20

Jason Regan is a man on the go. Excluding his high school years in Holly, Idaho, he’s never settled in one place. Building his engineering company requires a lot of travel, so when he returns to Holly to visit his aunt and pay a decade-old parking ticket, he’s not planning to stay for Christmas. The judge’s ruling changes that—he’s assigned community service at an animal shelter requiring his skills.

Former lawyer Tess Evans moved home to pursue her true calling—managing the Forever Home Animal Shelter. The shelter is chronically underfunded and understaffed. So, to raise money and awareness, she organizes a ‘Home for the Holidays’ adoption event at Holly’s Christmas festival. Getting a skilled volunteer at such a critical time is a gift and Tess takes full advantage. Their to-do list is long, and not falling in love is number one.

As their attraction grows, they keep forgetting Jason’s stay in Holly is temporary. Can Tess, a lonely terrier named Neville and some Christmas magic change his mind?

If you haven’t noticed from my recent reviews, I find it hard to turn down a holiday romance. When I read the description of this one, I will admit I though “Hallmark movie”. And I wasn’t wrong. Not that that’s a bad thing. It means this story is very sweet, which also isn’t necessarily a good thing. In my mind, it means this story is neither great or bad; it’s an entertaining holiday romance with some adorable animals thrown into the mix.

The main characters, Tess and Jason, are wonderful. I enjoyed them both from the start. They have a low-key chemistry that keeps this story moving along. But, most likely because of the length of this story, that connection lacked depth. The chemistry was there but wasn’t deep or intense. Here’s the thing though…I felt like this author has what it takes to make that deeper connection. That’s why I think it’s lack had to do with the amount of words she was given to use.

While slightly outlandish, the storyline was fun and engaging. Jason took things in stride much more than I would have expected, and I actually appreciate that. Sometimes I just don’t feel like dealing with a grumpy hero. And the author did a great job portraying Jason as a man who would take his licks when he knows he deserves them.

Tess and her family seem to have a tight bond and an interesting back story. Again, I felt that was missing. And again, I felt it had to do more with word count than ability. I would have loved to have delved into how losing their mother has shaped who Tess and her sisters are. Maybe in the next book? I can only hope.

So, while this new-to-me author didn’t blow me away, I found this story to be a sweet escape from the real world for a little while.

3 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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