by Brenda Novak
Series: Whiskey Creek #5
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an ecopy of the book, from the author, in exchange for an honest review
Christmas is a time for remembering…
Too bad not all memories are pleasant! Everyone in Whiskey Creek remembers Sophia DeBussi as the town's Mean Girl. Especially Ted Dixon, whose love she once scorned.
But Sophia has paid the price for her youthful transgressions. The man she did marry was rich and powerful but abusive. So when he goes missing, she secretly hopes he'll never come back—until she learns that he died running from an FBI probe of his investment firm. Not only has he left Sophia penniless, he's left her to face all the townspeople he cheated.…
Sophia is reduced to looking for any kind of work to pay the bills and support her daughter. With no other options, she becomes housekeeper for none other than Ted, now a successful suspense writer. He can't bring himself to turn his back on her, not at Christmas, but he refuses to get emotionally involved. He learned his lesson the last time.
Or will the season of love and forgiveness give them both another chance at happiness?
Although this is the fifth book in the Whiskey Creek series, it was my very first Brenda Novak read. It won't be my last. It was such a pleasure meeting so many of the inhabitants of Whiskey Creek and I am anxious to get better acquainted with them all!
Take Me Home for Christmas focuses on Sophia DeBussi and Ted Dixon. Fifteen years ago, Sophia broke Ted's heart by marrying another man. Sophia had her reasons, but Ted's never forgiven her. And honestly, Sophia has never recovered from the loss either. But she's lived with the consequences of her mistakes. And it's been difficult in a town the size of Whiskey Creek.
Now, Sophia finds herself in a wholly unfamiliar situation as her husband is gone and left her with quite a financial mess to deal with. If some folks in Whiskey Creek didn't like her before, they surely don't like her now that her husband lost huge amounts of their money.
Ted doesn't want to feel sorry for Sophia. He doesn't want to feel anything for her at all but he can't seem to help himself. So he offers Sophia a job, under the guise of being a caring citizen. He tries to keep his distance - even going so far as to start dating someone - but the more he's around Sophia, and her daughter, Lexi, the more he realizes that Sophia has changed.
I really liked Sophia a lot. She was raised as a rather spoiled child, but although people on the outside thought she lived a pampered life in her marriage, her reality was anything but. She'd been beaten down and had very little self-esteem. But she had a little pluck and seemed very determined to put her life back together, make something of herself, for herself and her daughter, and prove everyone wrong. Sophia showed a significant amount of growth, in my opinion. She had quite a few obstacles to overcome, both publicly and personally. I thought she rose to the challenge well. I admired Sophia for her strength and grace in the face of adversity.
Ted - while I liked him and rooted for he and Sophia to get their second chance - I found Ted slightly less likable. Honestly though, it was mostly because he wasn't honest with himself. And I suppose that made him all the more genuine. I did understand his hurt and need to protect himself, but he acted, at times, a little petulantly. I also thought he should have thought through things a little more before acting on them because this would have prevented some hurt. I loved his interactions with Lexi. I could feel the bond forming between the two and it was heartwarming. I also enjoyed seeing Ted and Sophia together once they were honest with one another about their feelings. I only wish Ted had given Sophia some of the words he'd though because she really needed to hear them.
Take Me Home for Christmas was such a pleasant read. I love second chance romances and if anyone deserved a second chance, it was Sophia and Ted. The entire supporting cast was fairly well fleshed out. And I never felt lost despite not having read the previous novels in the series. Ms. Novak has created a world that his very comfortable (well, except for those angry townspeople), with lovable and realistic characters. I feel as though I've made several new friends and I can't wait to spend more time in Whiskey Creek.