Take Me Home For Christmas by Brenda Novak

About the book:

original title  Take Me Home for Christmas
ISBN  0778315460 (ISBN13: 9780778315469)
edition language  English

Christmas is a time for remembering…
Too bad not all memories are pleasant! Everyone in Whiskey Creek remembers Sophia DeBussi as the town’s Mean Girl. Especially Ted Dixon, whose love she once scorned.
But Sophia has paid the price for her youthful transgressions. The man she did marry was rich and powerful but abusive. So when he goes missing, she secretly hopes he’ll never come back–until she learns that he died running from an FBI probe of his investment firm. Not only has he left Sophia penniless, he’s left her to face all the townspeople he cheated….
Sophia is reduced to looking for any kind of work to pay the bills and support her daughter. With no other options, she becomes housekeeper for none other than Ted, now a successful suspense writer. He can’t bring himself to abandon her, not at Christmas, but he refuses to get emotionally involved. He learned his lesson the last time.
Or will the season of love and forgiveness give them both another chance at happiness?

My Thoughts:

TAKE ME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS was the first book in the WHISKEY CREEK series that I have read.  I had grabbed an excerpt of one of Brenda’s books a while ago and knew Brenda was an author that I wanted to read more of.  Being a series, I was afraid that I would be missing something because I have yet to read the other books, but it proved unnecessary.  It was very easy to fall right into Whiskey Creek.  The beginning of the book did not play around.  It did not take long for the story to get good, nor to champion for Sophia and her daughter Alexa.  If you’ve ever been in love and lost that love, you will empathize with both Sophia and Ted.  Novak was able to capture and stir feelings that  I didn’t even know were festering inside me.  The memories of simpler days and first loves were a surprising and comforting effect of this story.

I loved this story.  Not just the Sophia and Ted history and current story, but the entire story.  Skip, what a jerk.  His character was so easy to dislike, but he and his story gave this entire story such substance.  Same with Stacy, he too was a very unlikable character, but added so much to the building of Sophia’s story.  Novak expertly created her characters and their stories so that they were real, tangible characters.

Now the romance.  Ooh la la, the romance.  Novak certainly knows how to set the romantic tone, while keeping it clean and without telling too much.  I was amazed at her ability to convey such electricity and love as well as disdain and grief.  She is able to make these characters your friends, family, customers, even those you are in contact with that you may not really like.

I’ve read books in the past that triggered a bit of a song to play in my mind, but TAKE ME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS had quite a playlist.  I can’t help think of these songs when I think of the book and can’t help but think of the book when I hear the songs.  Enjoy!

About the Author:

(from Brenda’s site)

“I caught my day-care provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep while I was away,” Brenda says. “It was then that I decided that I needed to do something from home.”

However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda swears she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. In school, math and science were her best subjects, and when it came time to pick a major in college, she chose business.

Abandoning her academic scholarship to Brigham Young University at the age of 20 in order to get married and start a family, Brenda dabbled in commercial real estate, then became a loan officer.

“When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book,” Brenda admits. “I learned how to write by reading what others have written. The best advice for any would-be author: read, read, read….”

Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history. Many of her novels have won or placed in contests such as the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Write Touch, the Award of Excellence and the Beacon Award for Published Authors.

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children—three girls and two boys. She juggles her writing career with her children’s softball and soccer games, field trips, carpool runs and homework sessions.

When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fundraiser for diabetes research—an on-line auction held at her website May 1st – May 31st. Her youngest son, Thad, has diabetes, and Brenda is determined to help him and others like him. She also enjoys traveling, watching sporting events and biking–she rides an amazing 20 miles every day!

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