I’ve just finished book three in the Christmas romance book tour. I reviewed books one and two here earlier. So book number three is a quite heavy but beautiful romance story by Donna Alward. Deck the Halls is actually part of the Darling, VT series, that plays out in a cute little town where everybody knows and takes care of each other. I received this book pre-publication in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley. Thank you St. Martin’s Press!
So the two main characters in this book are George and Amy. George is a veteran who was very troubled after he came back from war and is just now starting to piece his life back together again. He was homeless for a long time but now he has his own place and is working at a garden centre in Darling. He is slowly getting back his life, but he refuses to accept help and hasn’t looked for psychological help yet.
Amy is the twin of George’s best friend that died at war. Amy has come looking for George because she wants answers about her brother’s death. When George came back, he disappeared and they need to talk to him to get some closure, but George doesn’t want to think back to that traumatizing time. So Amy tracked George down and shows up where he works, right before Christmas.
Through the rest of the book, the two are working through their issues. Amy carefully approaches George and soon realises he isn’t at all like the young man she met years ago. But she keeps on pressing him for answers he clearly isn’t ready to give. Eventually, she realises how hard of a life George has had and she lets up a little. That’s when George starts to open up and he finally tells Amy everything about her brother’s death. Amy then learns to cope with all of that, while George finds that talking about it actually helps him. All of these emotions unbalance the two of them and unearth the feelings they had for each other years ago, before George and Amy’s brother left for war. So they slowly and steadily work through everything, all the while trying to figure out if they have what it takes to make their relationship work.
I like military romances, but I’m not a very big fan of veteran romances. It’s a very American subject and I don’t really feel connected to it very much. I also prefer spontaneity and fun and spirited romances. Here, George and Amy spent more time slowly turning around each other, both trying not to hurt the other, and being so careful that it slowed the story down. That fits the theme and the setting of the book, but it just wasn’t my speed. That’s not to say that it wasn’t a good romance novel because it was. It’s a heartwarming story about two people who have experienced a lot of problems who are slowly working through all that with the purpose of coming out the other end like whole people, ready to be in a relationship. They do, eventually and it’s sweet. It just wasn’t my genre.