Rachel Brand's Reviews > Christmas Roses

Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot
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Novellas are always really hit or miss for me, especially Christmas-themed ones. Sometimes they can seem a bit too trite or forced in their messages, and other times the characters just aren't developed enough for the short length of the story. Given that I picked this book up for free on Kindle, I was exceptionally pleased to find that it didn't fall into either of these categories.

A few people have commented that the story is predictable, and given that it's a simple romance with a Christmas message, it's probably true. But Amanda Cabot takes a well-worn romantic storyline and makes it endearing and compelling with characters that you can't help but care about, as well as a small-town setting that fits the sweet message in this book. There were just enough secondary characters for the town to feel real, but not too many that they felt like cardboard cut-outs. Celia's obsession with roses and the descriptions of her boarding house made it feel like home by the time I finished this book.

Celia's personal conflict wasn't quite as interesting as Mark's, but the interplay between them was compelling. I did worry that Mark's spiritual struggle would become a bit cliche, as it seemed to be fitting the typical "I've lost my faith because a bad thing happened to me" mould, but the way in which he regained his belief in God and the beautiful sermon at the end of the story were definitely original and believable.

A few things happened right at the end of the book regarding Mark's family that felt a bit rushed, so because of that and the fact that Celia's conflict was a bit weak, I think I'd give this book 4.5 out of 5 rather than full marks. In spite of its flaws, Amanda Cabot crafted a sweet, endearing Christmas story with relatable characters and a original take on an oft-told message. It's definitely one of my favourite Christmas reads of 2013.
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Reading Progress

12/22/2013 marked as: currently-reading
12/29/2013 marked as: read
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