Deck the Halls by Donna Alward

book cover

Published: St Martin’s Press
Date: 3rd October 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: Novella
Source:Publisher via NetGalley

Goodreads callout

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?

When I read Somebody Like You – #1 in the Darling VT series earlier in the year, I wrote a very brief review of it, stating the character George really appealed to me. And… I wanted his story. A little comment then showed underneath, Donna saying I should watch out for October because his story was on the way. And so it is.

George is a returned service man who for a long time was down on himself and was living on the street until a few people in Darling VT really saw him and offered him a helping hand. Which to his credit he took. Yet he is still riddled by regret and no small amount of survivor guilt.

Into the mix arrives his best friend’s twin sister – Amy. She has come looking for answers to what went down that day when her brother was killed in war.

What follows is a heart warming Christmas story of reaching out, giving, hope and love. Things move along for George, he has already come a long way but there is more ways to travel. Towards the end it tugged on my heart strings.

There is no quick fix, but there is promise of good things to follow. George and Amy are just beginning. If the Darling VT series continues… well I hope Amy and George poke their noses into other peoples stories and update us.

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