What a lovely and heartwarming Christmas story! Hannah is a dog trainer and the guardian of her deceased sister’s twin toddlers. She is hiding a secret about the father of the girls, but she promised her sister not to tell. Her promise ends up causing her a lot of problems with Luke Hutcheson, her neighbor and the girls’ biological uncle. The story itself is a simple one, with secrets and romance and children who just need to be accepted and loved. The addition is that the adults in this story need to find acceptance and love, too. Although the ending is predictable, it was such a sweet read getting there. With dogs added to the mix, it was a perfect story that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was entertaining as well as inspirational to read how the relationships developed with the people and with God.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harlequin via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
Excerpt of Finding a Christmas Home by Lee Tobin McClain (Sep 28)
Hannah Antonicelli walked out of the Rescue Haven Learn-and-Play and flopped down on the bench that ran along the wall of the red barn.
“Cold for sitting outside, isn’t it?” Her friend Gabby wrapped her heavy parka more tightly around herself before sitting beside Hannah. Despite the fact that she and her husband oversaw all Rescue Haven’s programs—the dog rescue, the after-school program for at-risk boys and the childcare center—Gabby always had time to stop and chat.
And Gabby was right: November in rural Ohio wasn’t sit-outside weather. Wind whisked across the neighboring cornfields, rustling the dry, light brown stalks, carrying with it the faint, clean smell of oncoming snow. “I just need a minute before I start with the dogs,” Hannah said.
“Take a minute! Take an hour, or the whole morning off, if you need. It’s a great thing you’re doing, providing a home for Marnie’s girls.”
“The Learn-and-Play is the only possible way I’ll manage, so thank you for accepting the twins on short notice.” And she didn’t want to take advantage of Gabby’s generosity by skimping on her part-time job as the Rescue Haven dog trainer. What with everything that had happened, she’d already taken too much time off. Not to mention the fact that Gabby was pregnant and didn’t need extra stress. “Let me know if they need anything or get upset.”
Caring for her sister’s eighteen-month-old twin girls had been the right thing to do when Marnie had died of complications after a drug overdose two weeks ago. The desperate phone call from her estranged older sister had shaken Hannah’s world at its foundation. She and Mom had rushed to Marnie’s side and instantly agreed to care for the twins they barely knew.
Which meant that, for now, Hannah was back in her childhood home. Mom’s house had plenty of space, a big yard with a tire swing and was close to Rescue Haven.
Anyway, until they got the twins’ lives in order and their schedules figured out, it was going to take two of them to manage things. Being in the same house was just easier.
Mom was busy trying to keep her struggling bakery afloat during hard times. She was also grief-stricken and guilt-ridden over Marnie’s death—not in any shape to be a primary caregiver. Whereas Hannah… Hannah was more angry at her sister than anything else. Marnie had neglected her babies. She’d caused terrible pain to their mother. And she’d entrusted Hannah with a secret that wasn’t going to be easy to keep.
The blond, curly-haired twins had instantly become Hannah’s priority in life. She had to raise them right, and she would. She yawned. The twins hadn’t slept well last night—again—and she was just so tired…
She might have actually dozed off for a few seconds, and when she opened her eyes, she felt like she was dreaming. “Who’s that?” she asked Gabby as she stared at the movie-star-handsome, rugged man striding toward them.
“You don’t recognize him? That’s Luke Hutchenson.”
Hannah’s stomach lurched. “When did he come back to town?”