Home for the Holidays by Sarah Mayberry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
TBR Challenge 2011- June Category: Contemporary. This book has been on my TBR list since Dec 2010.
I'll start with the caveat that I don't care for children in romance novels for the most part. It's rare that a child character is well-written or acts/talks in an age appropriate way. (FYI, some of the best children in fiction are found in Juvenile and Young Adult fiction, especially historical fiction.) In part because of my bias, Home for the Holidays was a good-but-not-great read for me.
Sarah Mayberry is a strong writer and always packs a lot of plot and character development in her series-length books. Her dialog is strong (excluding the children in this case) and her ability to turn on the emotional angst is a plus.
Besides the children issue, which is a personal quirk and won't effect everyone, I felt Home for the Holidays was unfocused. Mayberry has three story arcs involving the same characters, and they happen one right after the other. This type of multiple-drama story works better in longer books. Or it works better if one drama leads into the next smoothly, which didn't happen here. The three dramatic climaxes are abrupt, imo. Since we had several story lines to get to and finish, I don't feel Joe and Hannah's developing relationship got enough time.
Bottom line: Sarah Mayberry writes as well or better than any short-form writer I've read. I still intend to glom her entire backlist because a good book from Mayberry is better than many other series authors' best efforts.
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