Only my favorite cowboy romance author could get me to touch this trope with a ten foot pole. I really dislike the “best friend or brother’s widow” trope. It’s so hard for me to invest in a new couple when the heroine’s first love is dead. It goes against my little happily ever after loving heart. I’ve been faithfully reading the Gold Valley series, though, and I wasn’t about to miss out of Caleb and Ellie’s HEA.
Ms. Yates is a wonderful storyteller and COWBOY CHRISTMAS REDEMPTION was no exception. I think her focus on the couple while weaving in dimensional secondary characters makes her stories stand apart from most other authors. I have to say, I am a sucker for a good pining hero, and Caleb did some A+ pining for Ellie.
Ellie was a really interesting character. She was always drawn to Caleb, and he is her best friend, but she wasn’t in love with him the way he loved her. I enjoyed watching her fall in love and grapple with the many different ways love can manifest with different people. It was an interesting angle for the story to take.
As I mentioned, I don’t really like this trope, and the repetitive cycle Caleb and Ellie were in got on my nerves. There was so much repeated angst, I am pretty sure 1/3 of the book could have been edited out. Also, naming Ellie’s dead husband Clint, and naming her new husband Caleb is way too close. I kept having to go back a reread.
Overall, I have been truly blown away by some of the books in this series, and I am SUPER excited to read West’s book, but this one was just okay. Enjoyable, but too repetitive and angsty. I did like the addition of a Christmas puppy, they make everything better!
**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**