Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Published: November 2017
I don’t usually do reviews like this, but thought it appropriate for this thoroughly enjoyable festive series. There are four books in the series, each written by a different author but all featuring Felicity – the matchmaking ghost! She was looking forward to marrying the love of her life, Drew Harwood, after he returned from fighting in the First World War. However, fate intervened and she died of Spanish Flu shortly after his return. Felicity didn’t want him to stay alone and took steps to help him and others to find their HEA at Christmas.
In ‘A Texas Christmas Past’ the events in Felicity’s demise are related before going on to show how Felicity helped to bring together the man she loved with the widowed sister of his best friend from his time in the army, the man who has made it possible for him to keep his ranch running. Audra Donaldson had worked as a nurse during the war and has seen more than her share of tragedy. She is visiting her brother for the Christmas season and plans to go to work with others who have been traumatised by their war experiences and suffering the then unacknowledged PTSD. She is suffering herself and has personal knowledge of strategies to help herself and others. Drew is determined to resist his attraction to the nurse but Felicity has other lavender scented plans for the two!
This is a lovely, caring romance which is a great introduction to the series and scenarios. It is a heartwarming story with great characters and one that left me eager to read the subsequent stories in this series!
The series moves from 1918 to the present day and features three friends who live in Whiskey River – Savannah Taylor, Rachel Wilson and Avery Burton. Now the notorious three bad boys from the Barrel area of town, Harlan Sullivan, Elijah Lane and Logan Calloway have returned to town having, against the odds, made a success of their lives. In each of the next three stories in this series the focus is on one of these couples and the first couple are Savannah and Harlan who were secret lovers as teenagers until Harlan unexpectedly broke their relationship off just days after they first made love. She was understandably devastated and has been reluctant to trust anyone with her heart ever since. Now he’s bought the construction company where Savannah works. How will she cope with her first love’s return? Will the chemistry between them still be as volatile? Why did he leave? Can Felicity work her lavender scented ghostly influence on these two to give their love a chance?
As soon as I saw the author, I knew I’d love this story! She has a great way of bringing characters to life within the pages of her story and she did just that in this sweet second chance romance, too. The drama of secrets from the past being revealed, how Harlan is prepared to help save someone who was instrumental in breaking up their teen romance to ensure Savannah’s happiness is so sweet! I loved this story and look forward to reading the next two!
I requested and received a copy of this novel, via NetGalley. This is my honest review after choosing to read it.
The second ‘bad boy’ from the less affluent area of Whiskey River to feature in this series is Elijah (Eli) Lane who left the area after being suspected of stealing the car belonging to the mother of his secret girlfriend, Rachel Wilson. He wasn’t the thief but Rachel didn’t back him up and, disillusioned, he left to participate in a scheme which helped him turn his life around. He’s been in the army and to college as well as working in the wine industry and now he’s returned to help set up a new vineyard in partnership with his two teen friends who have also done well after leaving the Barrels. He’s determined to show Rachel that he’s made something of his life . . . . even though she married someone else shortly after he left.
Rachel was devastated when Eli left without contacting her. She believes he abandoned her without a second thought but there are secrets to be revealed and a matchmaking ghost with lavender scent who will strive to help these two to uncover what happened and to move on to their own HEA together. However, even though their attraction is a hot as ever, there are other considerations this time around, including Rachel’s determination to make a success of her backing company and her delightful young daughter!
The angst and drama run riot through this third story in this festive season. Some of the events from the second book also feature in this one and it is great to read about them from a different point of view. This is a story to have your taste buds tingling as Felicity, the Harwood’s matchmaking ghost, tries to work her magic for another couple this Christmas. It is a delightful read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I can’t wait to read the fourth and final story in this series!
I requested and received a copy of this novel, via NetGalley. This is my honest review after choosing to read it.
This is the fourth and final story in this brilliant series. This time the focus is on Logan Calloway, the third man from the Barrels area who left as a teenager with everyone expecting him to never do much with his life. He astounded his detractors as he became a Hollywood A-lister, a superstar who never forgot his roots and actually set up a local charity to help anyone growing up in a similar situation to himself. Now instead of being supercilious to him, those who used to put him down now seek his approval and attention. As his friends are heading back to Whiskey River for the festive season, Logan goes there, too. Whilst there he visits the offices of his charity and discovers that his assistant, Avery Burton, may be another great reason for being in Whiskey River! With so many events occurring and the attraction between the two growing, the matchmaking Harwood ghost, Felicity, will be endeavouring to work her lavender scented magic again to bring love and romance to this couple!
Again, this story has events and characters in common with the previous two books in this series but they are related from a different point of view, adding to the feeling of actually being there. As Logan reflects on his past and moves on to the future, this story is an emotive read and shows how he strives to use his success to help others escape from low expectations and to boost their aspirations. The romance is brilliantly portrayed and it is endearing to follow its development. There is plenty of angst and turmoil and this story is yet another real page turner, with Felicity, the Harwood ghost, playing a lavender scented cupid in this thoroughly enjoyable conclusion to the series.
I loved this whole series, reading them in sequence over a long weekend – whenever life didn’t get in the way. I am so impressed with how the authors have collaborated to bring the characters, events and scenarios to life in each book yet each author brings their own voice to ‘their’ story.
This is definitely a fantastic Christmas series that I have no hesitation in highly recommending to anyone who enjoys escaping into community based romances – in this case with Felicity, a matchmaking ghost, to lend the couples a lavender scented hand on their journey to their HEA!
I requested and received copies of these novels, via NetGalley. This is my honest review after choosing to read them.
A Texas Christmas Past by Julia Justiss
Death denied Felicity a future with the man she loved, but her spirit lingers in the the Harwood House Hotel hoping to heal broken hearts and help them to find love again….
Widowed World War I nurse Audra Donaldson returns from France planning to devote her life to helping those suffering the lingering effects of war—effects she knows all too well, as she suffers from them herself. When, staying at the Harwood House Inn on a Christmas visit to her brother, she hears a man in the throes of a violent nightmare, she goes to him without question—and is stunned by a physical attraction as strong as her desire to help.
About to embrace the beautiful angel come to save him from the horrors of the battlefield, former soldier Drew Harwood recoils when he realizes Audra is real—and has seen his “weakness.” Brusquely rejecting her offer of help, he intends to avoid her. But more than just her beauty continues to draw him back. Though this compassionate, kind, and giving soul has seen more of war than he has, somehow, talking with her brings him peace–and seems to comfort her, too. If he can just resist acting on the desire she’s ignited in him since his first glimpse of her…
But someone else was watching, too. After tragedy denied Felicity a future with Drew, her dying wish was that he live his life and be happy for them both. To her sorrow, a year later, her former fiancé is still struggling. Deciding Audra is the perfect lady to heal the wounds of her beloved, this determined ghost resolves to bring Drew and Audra together. Who can resist a love that lasts beyond time?
Years ago, Harlan Sullivan broke Savannah Taylor‘s heart. Now, he’s back in Whiskey River as the new owner of the local construction company–and Savannah’s new boss. Giving up Savannah was the hardest thing Harlan ever had to do, but it’s way past time to explain why he did. Besides, after fourteen years, they have both moved on. Or so he thinks—until their unexpected meeting at Felicity’s Christmas Ball shocks him into realizing his buried feelings—and secret passion—are very much alive.
As long as she keeps a tight grip over her emotions, Savannah is confident she can weather having her old flame become her new boss. She’s even willing to indulge the desire that time seems to have intensified. But there’s no way she will let Harlan anywhere close to her heart.
Harlan soon realizes he wants more from the sexy, sultry Savannah than a temporary affair and sets out to convince her that this time, their love will last forever. But it will take a bit of Christmas magic from the Harwood Inn ghost to bring this reluctant banker’s daughter and determined Barrels Bad Boy to their happily-ever-after.
Elijah Lane left Whiskey River under a cloud of suspicion about a car theft he didn’t commit. After a stint in the army and years learning the wine industry, he’s back, ready to develop an elite boutique winery. With backing from a Hollywood A-lister, Eli intends to prove that this boy from the wrong side of town has made it big. There’s no one he wants to prove it to more than Rachel Wilson, the high school sweetheart who didn’t believe in his innocence and married someone else practically the minute he left Whiskey River.
Busy running her specialty baking company, widowed Rachel has no interest in romance—even when her first love comes back to town. Though she feels guilty that she didn’t stand behind the boy her mother persuaded her was certain to become a Barrels ne’er-do-well like the father who abandoned them, she has neither the time nor the energy to explore second chances.
Moved by the star-crossed couple’s repressed passion, which is hotter than cinnamon candy and sweeter than sugar icing, a benevolent Christmas ghost, who lives for happy endings, might just be cooking up a delicious new chance for Rachel and Eli.