Title: A Sweet Montana Christmas [This Old House 2]
Author: Roxanne Snopek
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Novella
Rating: 5 Stars
Melinda Sweet loved her husband before she learned of his wealth and she loves him still, despite the fact that it’s gone. Unfortunately, while she knows the collapse of his Chicago financial services business had nothing to do with him, he believes otherwise. His upbeat adjustment to their new – and temporary – life on his grandfather’s rundown honey farm is a foil to cover the burden of failure. She wasn’t expecting to throw – in five weeks – the traditional Sweet Christmas Open House, but it’s a good earning opportunity and how hard could it be?
Austin Sweet is determined to make his wife proud of him again. But he also wants to erase the sting of shame he feels from his parents, to whom he owes a debt of gratitude for arranging for this caretaking job. Getting paid to fix up this disaster is better than living in their basement, sure. But what does he know about bees? Or fixing broken plumbing? Or cleaning a chimney?
But when Austin’s grandfather gives him the farm as a Christmas gift, there’s only one response. Accepting the gift will secure a future that will make his wife even more unhappy than he already is. Refusing the gift will finalize the rift between him and his family, but he’d rather lose them than Melinda. Then he discovers she’s spared him the choice. Austin’s not-so-Sweet side rears up as he determines that he’s done trying to make everyone happy. He’ll get his wife back, no matter what. And they’ll decide their future together.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
Ah, another wonderfully written book by Ms. Snopek. A Sweet Montana Christmas is the heart-warming, tension-filled story of Melinda and Austin Sweet—a recently separated couple who’ve had their share of hardships and are willing to give it one last go before they give up entirely on one another. It is a story of love, friendship, and family, and I ate up nearly every minute of it.
As with all of the author’s books, the writing was impeccable. The story moved along at a good pace, it was easy to read and follow along with, and the colorful narrative and dialogue seemed to melt effortlessly into the background. I was absolutely absorbed in the storytelling.
The only problem I had with the book, and trust me, it was very much –my problem-, is that I’m not a big fan of romance stories that start after-the-fact of the couple’s relationship. Melinda and Austin were already married, already in love at once point, and I didn’t know them as a couple. I wish I’d gotten to know them when they were first in love… I think it would have helped cement their relationship for me. That’s not the author’s fault though. That’s every bit my own problem, and I recognize it—and so I’m not marking points off the overall score.
That aside, the story was beautifully written and full of both heartwarming and steamy moments between Melinda and Austin. The cast of characters, though brief, seemed authentic. I wanted it to work out for the couple, and though there were a few niggling details that bothered me (like the fact that Austin had magically become more muscle-bound in the time between he and his wife had last seen each other) overall, the story was a short, but engaging delve into the small-town Montana life, and I enjoyed it. I’d be happy to recommend this short little story to anyone looking for a sweet holiday-themed read, and I encourage you to take a look at the rest of the author’s work. I have had the privilege of reading quite a few of her works over the last two years, and everyone of them has been remarkably well written. If you like cozy romance stories, you’ll enjoy this.