A Springwater Christmas
A Springwater Christmas is a warm-hearted, rather sweet and predictable tale about acceptance, love and forgiveness that will get you in the holiday spirit. If you’ve read the previous books in the Springwater series, you’ll no doubt be thrilled with the reappearance of these fertile ladies and their numerous offspring. But if you’re like me and haven’t read them you’d be better off holding off reading this one until you have. Trust me, trying to remember who is who is a futile exercise in frustration not worth the effort since most of these characters aren’t important to the main love story.
Olivia Darling is a genuine spinster (for a change) at the ripe old age of 32. She spent her youth caring for an ailing aunt who did nothing but berate her and destroy her confidence. Now that the evil aunt is dead, Olivia is finally free, but too old to enjoy herself – or so she believes. Sure that her best years are behind her, she’s given up on her dreams of having children and a husband of her own, and has moved to Springwater where she is the proud owner of a boardinghouse.
Jack McLaughlin travels to Springwater and becomes Olivia’s first boarder. A Civil War survivor, he carries with him emotional scars that he hopes to put to rest while in Springwater. The two make an immediate connection, and his presence makes them both painfully aware of all that is missing from their lonely lives. Unfortunately, his secretiveness becomes a major obstacle in their relationship and neither will find happiness until he is able to forgive himself and allow himself to truly live again.
Jack is a classic wounded hero and simply the best character in the book. As a young man, he made some bad choices which he has spent most of his adulthood regretting. As a result, he’s become a drifter and a loner who secretly longs for stability and family. His secret, when it is revealed, is a painful one and his hesitancy to face up to his past is understandable. He’s not always honorable but he’s easy to sympathize with and root for. His fear and pain are well portrayed and bring his character to life.
Olivia, while a good match for Jack, definitely won’t win my vote for most likable heroine of the year. She epitomizes the word “spinster,” and some of her views were too old-lady like to be believed. She is only thirty-two but sometimes she sounds like someone’s crabby granny. Although her anti-social nature and her fears of opening up to people were endearing and understandable, in the end she remained a bit too prickly and uptight for my tastes.
A Springwater Christmas is readable, mainly because of the greatness that is Jack, but be warned that it is filled with some very overused dramatic scenes (if I wanted to witness another adorable little orphaned urchin stealing hearts, I’d watch Annie) and contains very little in the way of surprises (especially the last third). Also, the romance is not always top priority, and, at times, the constant interruption of all of those secondary characters destroyed the flow of the romance. If you enjoy romances that provide a good portrait of small town life and don’t mind lots of distractions to the romantic aspect, you’ll find a better than average read about decent people struggling to rebuild their lives.
|Review Date:||November 11, 1999|
|Book Type:||American Historical Romance | Frontier/Western Hist Romance|
|Review Tags:||Christmas romance | Frontier Romance | Frontier/Western Historical Romance | Reconstruction era | Springwater series | Western romance|