ARC was provided by NetGalley and HARLEQUIN Romance in exchange for an honest review.
This review is being published after the release date (September 29th, 2020)
Content/Trigger Warnings: Death of a parent (in the past), loss of a loved one (in the past), grief, abandonment, mentions of multiple accidents, mentions of kidnapping and abduction, trauma, mentions of heart attack (in the past)
“I want to help you save the diner.”
In my true bad reading habits fashion, I read the the third book in this series and I have zero regrets. Seriously, this romance hit me in all the soft spaces of my heart, friends! Truly, this was such an emotional read and I loved this book so much. I’m not sure if you should or can read these book out of order. Even though this is the third book, I’ve never heard of this series before or this author, but this book has enough details that you understand the side characters and being new to this series, I had so much appreciation for that. After experiencing this author’s writing, I’m excited to explore more of this series and more of Calhoune’s writing!
Alaskan Christmas Redemption follows the story of two childhood best friends finding their way back to each other after four years of being part. Piper has spent these last four years carrying a great weight on her shoulders and now with her family diner at risk, she needs to find a solution to save it or close the doors to the Snowy Owl for good. Braden has just returned to Owl Creek after spending four years running away from his past. When Piper contacts him, asking for help, Braden ends up doing everything he can to help her, despite the secrets he’s keeping from everyone. The two estranged friends will work together to save the diner and maybe lose their hearts to one another along the way.
🦉 Piper Miller – After inheriting her family’s diner, The Snowy Owl, Piper has spent the last four years grieving the death of her father, but The Snowy Owl is in a lot of trouble. With a debt that was covered up by her father, Piper is struggling to come up with a way to save the diner without having to close the doors for good. She reaches out to her childhood best friend, Braden to assist her in saving the diner, but after four years of being apart, she can’t help wishing they could be close again or noticing Braden is hiding something.
“There was no one in the world who could replace Piper. She was one of a kind and as unique as an individual snowflake.”
🦉 Braden North – After leaving Owl Creek four years ago, Braden has finally come home to be with his family, but the weight of the past is weighing heavily on his mind. When Piper, his childhood best friend reaching out to him, seeking his help with saving the diner, despite wanting to keep his distance, Braden agrees to help and comes up with a brilliant plan to save The Snowy Owl. But as Braden spends more time with Piper, he’s not only falling for her, but he’s struggling to confess the real reason he left Owl Creek four years ago.
Together Piper and Braden will make a dynamic duo that’ll turn The Snowy Owl into the hottest spot in Owl Creek for the holiday season. Along the way, these two characters will learn to find the hope in situations out of their control, unravel the secrets of the past, discover what it means to fall in love with someone you’ve known all your life, and be forgiving even when we’re our most vulnerable.
“Remember when a chocolate cherry shake would make everything feel better? I miss those days”
We follow the perspective of both Piper and Braden throughout this story. I really loved Piper as a character. She’s confident, sweet, loving, and has a charismatic charm about her that I couldn’t resist. Plus, her love for Christmas just really warmed my heart. We also see a lot of Piper’s grief through her perspective. Braden, on the other hand, wasn’t my favorite perspective. A lot of his perspective is through internal struggle and seeing his thoughts on how he’s handling things. Together, I think the perspectives balanced the story out nicely and it paints that full picture of what happened with both characters in certain moments.
There’s also a huge theme of family throughout this book and I crumbled so much with this that theme. I always say my loyalty and family are my Achilles’ heel, and they truly are. And the whole sense of family throughout this book just hit so close to home. Piper is carrying the knowledge of what’s happening with the diner, and refuses to tell her brother and mother what has been occurring because she knows how hard they’ve recently struggled. On top of that, her whole family is still feeling the loss of Jack Miller, Piper’s father. There’s also the rekindling of family bonds on Braden’s side of this story. Braden’s younger sister was kidnap as a baby and now that they’re both home, under the same roof, they’re trying to find a way to connect with one another. But under all of that, there’s a deep sense of not wanting to disappoint your family or let them down because of hardships, feeling like you’re not measuring up to expectations, and it plays an important role in the lives of our two main characters throughout this book. And since this is a small town, we have the small town vibes and close knit community. So it feels like one big family and it’s like being wrapped up in a warm, fuzzy hug.
“His mother had once told him that even when you lost a person you loved, memories of them were everywhere you turned.”
Even though this is a holiday romance, there are heavy themes of grief and loss of loved ones in this book. And even though this is suppose to be a holiday romance, this is the first holiday romance I’ve read that addresses the amount of loss and grief you can feel around the holidays. I find not many authors show this side of the holidays, but it’s such an important perspective to show especially during the holidays. A we see a wide plethora of that through this book with many side characters. We also have multiple conversations surrounding that grief and remembering those loved ones. As I mention all the time, family is everything to me and this book really touched parts of my soul when it comes to that topic. But even though we have themes of grief, there’s also themes of hope throughout this book. I think the author did a beautiful job at pairing the two alongside one another. These two feelings go hand in hand with one another so often and I really appreciated that we see both sides.
Overall, this book made me really soft and sappy. I was crying on and off through this book because of so many themes throughout this story. I think many readers are going to fall in love with this story, with the characters, and the Alaska setting is just stunning. I’m truly excited to pick up the other books in this series and I’m eagerly awaiting future books for this series because this was such a great read. I read this book in one whole day and every time I set it down, I had to pick up back up immediately. Truly, I hope more readers pick this book up because is such a great read and it touched all the soft spots of my heart!
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
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