TBR Day. Christmas at Candlebark Farm / Michelle Douglas. 2010

I found this on my Kindle when looking for a holiday-themed book for this month's TBR Challenge. I have no idea what prompted the purchase. But when I saw it was Australian-set I thought it might be fun to read a Christmas story set down under where it is hot and sunny right now (as opposed to cold and rainy like it is here).

Keira Keely is a young woman, 10 weeks pregnant thanks to an IVF procedure. She has no man in her life and is looking to have a baby now because a medical issue could prevent her from getting pregnant later in life. She has taken temporary lodging at Candelbark Farm while she arranges the sale of a house she'd inherited from a great aunt.

Luke Hillier is a widower with a 15-year old son. Luke has to work long and hard to keep his farm running; he's renting out a room to earn a little extra cash.

This book is full of some fairly common themes or stereotypes:

  • Kiera is sunny and optimistic about almost everything.
  • Luke is gruff and anti-social.
  • Luke can't seem to communicate with his son Jason.
  • Kiera manages to say all the right things to patch up the relationship between Luke and Jason.
  • Kiera teaches Luke and Jason how to celebrate Christmas again
Douglas' writing and pacing is really very good. The story moved along nicely. But ultimately it just didn't work for me the way I hoped. Everything was too formulaic. The only thing unusual was Kiera's decision to have a baby on her own and while it was interesting to read about her decision to do so, too many other aspects of the book had that "been there/done that" feel. It's unfortunate because Kiera's take-charge personality was nice to read, even if she was a tad too perfect.

It was hard to sympathize with Luke's gruff character when the reasons behind his social withdrawal were not convincing to me. Luke had separated from his wife, and shortly thereafter she's diagnosed with a brain tumor and dies. Luke blames himself for his wife's death (Hello? Cancer?) and supposedly everyone in town does too. It just was too unrealistic.

In the long run this was a quick read that started well enough but turned too predictable too soon. It was not the holiday read I'd hoped for.


  1. Ohh, this one just sounds predictable all around. It's too bad that your last TBR read of the year was not enjoyable.

  2. Yeah, but fortunately I have some other good reads waiting for me, so I'll just move on :-)


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