I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Deck the Halls (Darling, VT) by Donna Alward
Series: Darling VT #3.5
Published by Swerve on October 3rd 2017
FINAL DECISION: I loved this story. It was sweet and mature and full of heart. There is still more for George and Amy and I hope we see more of them or I will be mad that we didn’t get an epilogue!
THE STORY: George Reilly has spent a year rebuilding his life after years of homelessness. Just when he has a job he values and friends in the town of Darling, VT, someone from his past reemerges. Amy Merck has come to George because the death of her brother has left her with questions and she wants George’s help. During the Christmas season George and Amy rediscover hope and begin mending hearts that have been bruised and damaged.
OPINION: I made the mistake of starting this novella late at night. I usually can read a little of these stories and then pick them up the next day. Not this one. Despite the fact that this story isn’t a suspense or a mystery or a great angsty drama, I was compelled to read every page before I slept.
The characters had such heart and depth for such a short story. I loved everything about it except for one minor quibble.
I thought this novella was incredibly brave for having a hero with PTSD who was also homeless for a long period of time. The story doesn’t flinch from these aspects of George’s reality. The shame, the fear, the daily struggles and the small successes. I loved the depth to this character who feels real and someone I would be happy to know.
Amy is a good match for George as she demonstrates that life and pain happens to everyone. She has different problems from George, but they have left scars on her as well.
The interactions between George and Amy are sweet, but not the sugary kind. These two are gentle and kind and good people. The entire story has great heart and I just felt so good about how things developed.
My only complaint is that the length of this novella means that the story is left going in the right direction, but not a complete happy ending. I hope that we see more of Amy and George in the future or I might grow more annoyed that we didn’t get an epilogue or glimpse at the future outcome.
The heat of this novella is definitely on the sweet side.
WORTH MENTIONING: Kissing Bridge.
CONNECTED BOOKS: DECK THE HALLS is book 3.5 in the Darling, VT series. This is a novella about a secondary character and can be read totally on its own, but fans of the series will be pleased with this revisit to Darling.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.