Jodi Thomas’ 2018 holiday romance, MISTLETOE MIRACLES, was my favorite holiday romance of last year. So to say that I had high expectations is an understatement. As always, Ms. Thomas knows how to wrap your heart up in a soft blanket to give you all the fuzzy feelings. She effortlessly writes multiple romances in a single story while driving the plot of the book forward. CHRISTMAS IN WINTER VALLEY picked up where MISTLETOE MIRACLES left off with the two single ranching brothers finding love and maybe a bonus rancher or two in there.
What I loved: I loved Elliot and Jess’s second chance romance. The misunderstandings and distance between them made my heart hurt, but I was really rooting for them the whole time. I also enjoyed the addition of Tatum to the family dynamic. I was curious about how his storyline would resolve the entire time, which made me want to keep turning the pages.
Tye and Dani’s romance absolutely melted my heart. I loved how the pragmatic and mature Dani melted for Tye, and he melted right back. I really believed their love story. They might have been my favorite couple in the book overall.
What didn’t work: I felt like a few of the romances, specifically Creed and Dallas and Cooper and Hayley. With Creed and Dallas, 90% of their love story happened off the page, and I really wanted to know more. Selfishly, a spoiled society girl with a rough ranch hand is one of my favorite tropes and I just felt a little shorted.
With Cooper and Hayley, they both individually had a good amount of page time, but I didn’t really feel any sparks between them. Cooper just decided he loved Hayley at some point during the story. I think a few more deep conversations between Cooper and Hayley would have gone a long way. I felt very surface with Cooper’s character the entire book and I don’t see how Hayley could have gotten any deeper.
Overall, this was a sweet and enjoyable holiday romance on a ranch. I love Jodi Thomas’ writing, I just expected more from two of the four couples.
**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**