The Christmas Challenge
With her mortgaged farm, rebellious brother and two jobs, Layla Silver is struggling to keep afloat for the holidays.
But does she need Gage Cooper riding to her rescue?
Back in high school, Gage was nobody's hero. Now he's an injured bull rider home for Christmas to make amends for his checkered past.
And something about the stubborn, beautiful Layla has him wanting more than forgiveness. Can a wandering cowboy turn a Christmas courtship into an everlasting love?
Cooper Creek: Home is where the heart is for this Oklahoma family
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Love Inspired
Three stars: A pleasant holiday tale with a nice romance and plenty of warm holiday feels.
The story centers around a young woman, Layla, who has had a hard life. She lost her parents when she was nineteen so she gave up her dreams and returned home to care for her younger brother. Now days, she is struggling to make ends meet and with her brother who is a teenager. She is desperate since she doesn't know how she will keep a roof over their head, yet hat doesn't stop her from giving to others, especially during the holidays. Things change for Layla, when her old boyfriend from high school, Gage Cooper, returns home from the bull riding circuit for the holidays. Gage hurt her and he intends to make amends for his errant ways. What neither of them expect is for spark to fly.
What I Liked:
- I appreciated that this book had a strong focus on being kind to others, and I loved seeing Gage find ways to help Layla, and how Layla always gave so generously to others despite her circumstances. It is a perfect reminder for the holidays. Holidays should be about giving and goodwill to others and this book brought forth that message perfectly.
- I also loved the strong focus on family. I liked seeing how Layla took care of her brother even when things were tough. I liked the dynamic between Gage and his big, meddling family.
- There is a nice little romance, sweet and subtle and it never overtakes the plot. It takes its time to build and has a strong focus on friendship.
- I didn't realize this was a Christian romance going in, but I found that I actually enjoyed it even though I usually don't read Christian books. It was a nice, light read for the holidays.
- I liked that this one had a nice little Epilogue that takes place two years down the road. It was nice to see how things settled out for everyone.
And The Not So Much:
- The one drawback I had with this one is that I didn't know that this was a Christian romance. The religious references aren't over the top, but they are there so if you aren't a fan of religion in your reading, this won't be for you.
- I was also not thrilled with the rather abrupt, whirlwind ending as far as the romance went. I wanted more depth and development and I felt the ending was rushed.
The Cowboy's Christmas Courtship is a nice holiday read. It has a strong, positive message that focuses on giving and goodwill toward others. I enjoyed watching these characters help one another and benefit from the kindness given. It has a sweet little romance that takes its time to build. The one niggle for me was that this was a Christian romance, which I didn't know going it. I still enjoyed it but be aware that there are some religious themes. Still if you are looking for something light that highlights the true spirit of the season, this is one to try.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.