Format Read: eGalley
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: November 3, 2014
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Blurb from goodreads:
Christina Forrester is starting over. After a financial scandal sent her ex-husband to prison, she's left raising her young son without any of the comforts of their old life. Budgets, coupons, lawn care—you name it, she's learning to do it all on her own. Well, almost on her own—she'd be lost without Gail Broughton, the kind widow across the street. But when Gail's son comes home, Christina's vow to never trust a man again is put to the test.
Will Broughton left town because he was tired of being "that poor man" who lost his wife and unborn child in a tragic accident. But years have passed and, with his dad gone and his mom alone, it's time to go home. Only his mother's not alone. She's taken Christina under her wing, and the beautiful and determined single mother awakens something in Will he thought was buried forever.
As Will and Christina are forced to spend more time together, feelings that are more than neighborly grow between them. And with Christmas coming and a child filling both houses with holiday cheer, it becomes nearly impossible not to embrace the joy—and the love—in their lives.blah
"Her Holiday Man" was sweet and schmaltzy and I enjoyed it. It made me smile and gave me hope even during the Hallmark movie moments. Oh, this would make such a good Hallmark Christmas movie! A single mother, recovering from her husband's betrayal, raising their son on her own. Until she meets the older widow next door who becomes friend, confidant, and babysitter. Then there's the widow's son, who returns home after five years away. His pregnant wife died five years ago and he needed to leave in order to handle his grief and move on with his life. Now his father is dead and he's come to help his mother out. Yeah, Hallmark movie all the way.
Will is suspicious at first of the young woman and her son who have practically moved in with his mother. He worries that his mother is somehow being scammed or just plain taken advantage of. He doesn't trust Christina at first but he is attracted and that attraction is reciprocated. But he hasn't completely moved past his grief and he's raised walls that are high and thick:
For the first time, Will wished he didn't feel so broken inside. Christina tempted him in ways that went beyond the physical attraction, but he was never going back to the hell he'd suffered losing Emily. Sometimes he wondered if whoever had said it was better ti have loved and lost than to never have loved at all had ever actually lost somebody.
Both Will and Christina are broken and there's no instant fix for either of them. They work at it and have to keep in mind Christina's young son Nathaniel. As Will becomes closer to Christina, he also becomes closer to Nathaniel and then becomes concerned that because they aren't family he might hurt Nathaniel (yeah, cuz family members never hurt each other *eye roll*). Still, it's an indicator of the kind of man that he is that he is aware of the potential emotional hurt to Nathaniel and tries to minimize that hurt.
Both Will and Christina are eminently likable. They're average working class Americans, just trying to get by. They dance around each other but don't play games. As they learn about each other and become closer, their fears threaten to rip apart the love unfolding between them. Neither one fixes or cures the other but instead they help each other and in the process learn more about themselves.
"Her Holiday Man" was a fast, sweet read that made me tear up but also left me smiling. It was heartwarming and perfect for the holiday season.