Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: Take Me Home For Christmas

Take Me Home for Christmas
By Brenda Novak
Published: October 29, 2013

Christmas is a time for remembering….

Too bad all memories aren't pleasant. Everyone in Whiskey Creek remembers Sophia DeBussi as the town's Mean Girl. Especially Ted Dixon, whose love she once scorned. 

But Sophia has paid the price for her youthful transgressions. The man she did marry was rich and powerful but abusive. So when he goes missing, she secretly hopes he'll never come back—until she learns that he died running from an FBI probe of his investment firm. Not only has he left Sophia penniless, he's left her to face all the townspeople he cheated…. 

Sophia is reduced to looking for any kind of work to pay the bills and support her daughter. With no other options, she becomes housekeeper for none other than Ted, now a successful suspense writer. He can't bring himself to turn his back on her, not at Christmas, but he refuses to get emotionally involved. He learned his lesson the last time. 

Or will the season of love and forgiveness give them both another chance at happiness?

My review:

Book five in the Whiskey Creek series focuses on the story of Sophia DeBussi, a woman who seems to have it all until the death of her husband reveals the truth about him and the nature of the town she lives in. 

Sophia has a lot of personal demons. In high school she was a popular "mean girl" but she has changed since then. Unfortunately her former classmates don't seem to recognize that. Sophia has also been suffering abuse at the hands of her horrid husband and she is an alcoholic. In the earlier books in the series, I felt that Sophia was being treated poorly by Ted and his group of friends. It was sad to see her join them for Friday morning coffee and have her attempts at friendship be rebuffed. In this book I really felt bad for her because the whole town seems to turn on her and they kick her when she's down. 

Ted as a romantic hero takes awhile to warm up to because he is still angry at Sophia. He was a jerk to her in the past but in this book he does take up her cause and help her out against his better judgment. He makes some missteps romantically but I guess that makes him a more realistic "hero" with flaws. Over the course of the book he evolves into a more likable person and it is good to see him stand up for Sophia and bond with her daughter.

The town of Whiskey Creek comes across as a very judgmental place to live. Usually when I read small town contemporary romances, the small town is written in an idealized way with friendly people all helping each other, etc. While reading this series, I have thought repeatedly that I would not want to live in Whiskey Creek! While it is good to show the negatives to small town life, it can be off putting to those who are expecting something different in a contemporary romance setting. Thankfully a creepy town character finally gets their comeuppance in this book and maybe Whiskey Creek will be a more friendly setting in future.

Overall I really liked this book maybe for Sophia's story more than anything else. She shows a lot of strength though she isn't perfect. She has a lot to overcome and it is rewarding to see her get that happy ending she deserves. Though this is the fifth book in the series it is possible to read it as a standalone. Take Me Home for Christmas is a little darker than the typical Christmas romance  but I thought it was a good story with more depth than I'd expected and a very satisfying ending for the heroine. 

Note: I received an ARC for review courtesy of Netgalley and the publisher


  1. I can see how this could be read as a standalone but I also feel like it would be better to read as a series to get the full context of that town and really appreciate Sophia's journey.

  2. I just love to visit Whiskey Creek! I'm glad you enjoyed Take Me Home... so much :) I agree that it's a little darker than most Christmas romances, but still very fitting. Great review.

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

  3. this sounds so cute! i do think it would take me awhile to warm up to him too though. loooove the cover :)


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