This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.Deck the Halls by Donna Alward
Series: Darling VT
Genres: Contemporary, Holiday Romance
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Google Play ◊ Kobo ◊ Books-A-Million ◊ iBooks ◊ Publisher
With shades of It’s a Wonderful Life, one man must face his past to find his future this Christmas.
In the last year, George's life has drastically changed. The formerly homeless veteran now has a job he likes, a family in the residents of Darling, VT, and for the first time in years, a home. But while his present is good, he's still haunted by the past, a past that appears shortly before Christmas when the older sister of his brother-in-arms hunts him down and finds him in Darling, working at the Ladybug Garden Center.
Amy’s looking for closure for her family after her brother's death in the Middle East, but the serious man she finds working in Vermont doesn’t resemble the soldier she remembers from years before. This man is hardened and yet somehow fragile, too, and in her desire to find out what really happened to her brother, she learns more about George than she ever expected.
With a little Christmas magic and the whole town supporting them, can these two bruised hearts make a future together?
Deck the Halls is a Christmastime novella in the Darling, VT series. This is the story of George Reilly, a veteran who blames himself for the loss of someone close to him. A loss so profound that it had left him unable to face anyone from his past. Instead of coming home to friends or family, he slowly lost himself and ended up on the streets.
Homeless and alone, George received his wake-up call after being beaten by some thugs and given a chance to start over by his new and only friends, Laurel and Aiden. Now George was getting his life back together slowly but surely. Everything was looking up until Amy Merck popped up in his life. Amy was the twin to his once best and only friend Ian.
Amy was looking for answers to what happened to her brother Ian. They had received the official report from the military about how he had died but Amy wanted to know from George, Ian’s best friend, what had really happened the day that Ian died. This was not something George could talk about. In fact, it was this very thing that sent George on his downward spiral to begin with.
Amy has had a hard go of things over the years and coming to see George was her looking for closure for not only her but her parents as well. Although George was uncooperative, she was quite determined to find out the truth before her vacation comes to an end. She decided that the best approach was to try and develop a friendship with George and help him see that she doesn’t want to cause him harm, in fact she even feels a zing of attraction for this wounded veteran. If he would only give her a chance to see the man under the defenses.
George has been so used to being unnoticed and without human touch for so long that when Amy showed him kindness and treated him like a man, he was drawn to her affections like a moth to a flame. That alone terrified him. For her though, he was going to try and do that which seems unachievable to him. He was going to try and tell her the truth of his past, and about what really happened with Ian. It was to be a true test for both George and Amy to see if they can heal both their pasts and look forward to a future together, if that is even possible.
Deck the Halls was a sweet, swoony, and a bit steamy holiday romance. It definitely centers around Christmastime and the holiday season traditions. Although it is a holiday novella it did deal with some tough issues and I feel that it was successful in showing these issues in a realistic way. It is a nice Christmas story about real people dealing with real issues while trying to create some seasonal cheer. I adored it.
*Thank you to Netgalley & Swerve for this eARC of Deck the Halls*
Looking for an EXCLUSIVE excerpt? Check out this link from the Author’s website HERE!
Holiday Q&A with Author Donna Alward
When do the holidays official start for you?
December 1 – or the weekend just preceding it. That’s when we get out the decorations and go crazy.
What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?
THE MOVIES. I love sitting with my kids (who are of the nearly-adult variety) and watching holiday movies with a glass of wine or hot cocoa.
Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?
Tons! There are certain things we bake. We have a whole bunch of Christmas Eve traditions, including a barbecue (steak!), putting presents under the tree, going for a drive to see the lights, and watching The Polar Express. And even at their age, they still ask me to read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.
What’s your favorite holiday movie?
I have too many – my fave depends on my mood. Top contenders: Christmas Vacation, Christmas with the Kranks, White Christmas, Love Actually, The Polar Express.
Do you have a favorite holiday book?
Hmmm. I don’t tend to re-read holiday themed books, but I’ll confess that I have a soft spot for any (all) of the Christmas books in the Chesapeake Shores series. Those O’Briens… 🙂
What’s your all-time favorite holiday song?
Nat King Cole’s version of The Christmas Song. Simplicity and nostalgia all rolled into one smooth voice.
What’s your favorite activity during fall or winter?
Cozy nights with a glass of wine and a book. LOL! Seriously though, I miss living near the Rockies, because the skiing there spoiled me for anywhere else.
What’s your favorite gift you’ve ever received or given?
One year my sister put together a recipe book with our mom’s fave recipes over the years. She added some of her own, too, but if I want something that Mom used to make back in the eighties? It’s in that book!
Do you have any items on your wish list this year?
Yes! Yoga socks, books, and a kindle.
Any resolutions or goals for next year?
Do better. 🙂