Friday, October 28, 2011

Pink Heart Picks - Home for the Holidays

This month PHS Editor Donna Alward heads down under for Home For The Holidays by Sarah Mayberry - and reaches for the tissues.

I grabbed this book last February from the Toronto Harlequin offices. I saved it for a time when I was feeling more Christmassy, but I shouldn't have. My ONLY complaint about this book is that it's really not very Christmassy at all - besides the fact that the end of the story happens *near* Christmas and the book came out in November of 09 so it got a Christmassy title.

My hopes and dreams of cheesy carols, holiday treats and kisses snuck under the mistletoe were therefore dashed.

But let's put all that aside, shall we? Because I am a recent Mayberry fan, having read a few of her books now and loving her fresh and sparky voice, great characters, and propensity for writing moments that hit me square in the heart and leave me catching my breath.

Here we have an emotional bomb waiting to go off: we have single dad Joe, whose wife was killed two years earlier and who is bringing up his two kids alone (this has sympathetic character built right in, don't you think?). Then we have Hannah - oh, the unusual and wonderful tomboyish Hannah, who is a mechanic, drives a motorbike, is fixing up a Triumph (you go girl) - and who is recovering from losing her fiance to her pretty SISTER. Yeah, you feel for Hannah right away, even if she is a bit edgy and abrasive. She's earned it.

Ruby, Joe's daughter, seems a little younger than her 10 years but she's ADORABLE and she's got a thing for Hannah right from the start. We know that Hannah and Joe getting together is going to be no problem at all for Ruby. Thirteen year old Ben is another story. He's got a chip on his shoulder, doesn't quite trust Hannah, and in an emotionally charged scene we find out he's been hiding a secret of his own (the second time I sniffled in this story). Hannah isn't quite ready to abandon all her plans to be with Joe, though - it's early days and things are uncertain and she really has a hard time trusting, so she leaves on a long-planned bike trip around Australia. (Her leaving was my first nose-wipe.)

Only she can't stay away for long. She misses Joe - and the kids. Back she comes and they begin the difficult road of being officially a couple - when life throws such a spanner into the works that I thought OMG you can't be SERIOUS.

And then I hit page 239.

OH MY LORD, hand over the Kleenex box. The ending was just wow, so beautiful and brave and just WOW. Have I said WOW yet? I swear the only thing better would have been Santa popping through the chimney and the elves serving everyone hot cocoa and gingerbread (giving it the Christmas bit).

If you haven't read anything by Mayberry yet, do yourself a favour and pick one up. I don't really think it matters which one, either, though this is a keeper. Sympathetic and original characters, a fresh and sexy voice, and a wonderful depth of emotion make this book a must-read at any time of year.

Now...drum roll...the Pink Heart Pick for November!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This time I go back to my roots to my own line in the Harlequin family - Harlequin Romance, and a book by a writer who is a personal favourite: Liz Fielding. In November we're reading Tempted By Trouble - because after all, this Canadian is looking forward to reading about an ice-cream truck named Rosie and has been ever since she learned of something called Mr. Whippy.

It was out in June, but you can grab Liz's book at eharlequin, on amazon, at Mills and Boon, and at the Book Depository.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Donna ~ I thought I had this book but it must be the only Sarah Mayberry book I don't own. You are going to love Tempted by Trouble.