Caidy Bowman had been the apple of her family's eye—until a devastating tragedy forced her to hide from the world. She was used to devoting her time to the animals on her family's ranch. Then widower Ben Caldwell and his two adorable children arrived in Pine Gulch, and suddenly, Caidy wanted more than a life in the shadows .As the town's new vet, Ben needed a place to stay for the holidays—and for his family to heal from their own loss. He absolutely wasn't looking for love again! But Caidy Bowman's sparkling green eyes and sweet smile touched Ben's broken heart, giving him hope for a new future. Their future—if he could convince the beautiful cowgirl that Christmas was a time for new beginnings .
Released in November, 2012, this continuation of Ms Thayne's Cowboys of Cold Creek series is a delightful holiday novel which brings readers a wonderful love story. This small Idaho town has been featured in 10 previous stories highlighting various families in the community and giving all of us a peek into the workings of a small Western community. There is a particular poignancy in the stories that have featured the Bowman family. Over a decade earlier their beloved parents were murdered during a home invasion robbery, one that had been planned to occur during the family's absence. As it happened, the parents and their daughter, Caidy, were home because Caidy was sick. Mrs. Bowman had become a well-known artist and it was for the purpose of stealing her paintings that the robbery was planned and carried out.
Now, 12 years later, the entire family labors under the burden of the memory of this horrible experience when happened just a few days before Christmas. It is especially difficult for Caidy who heard the entire crime being committed. She has longed for a way to move beyond the hurtful memories, to find a way to replace the grief with a new joy. As it happens, a new veterinarian is in town and together with his two young children, he begins to impact Caidy's life in unexpected ways.
This is truly the classic love story and yet it is not adversarial in nature but yet there is a good amount of tension between the main characters. It's never easy to move forward. For Caidy it means that she will have to let go of the pain and grief of that horrific day. For Ben it will mean letting go of his anger at his dead wife, a woman who never really accepted her diabetic condition and its limitations and who insisted on getting pregnant a third time, a decision that ultimately cost her the rest of her life, her husband the loss of his spouse, and his children the loss of their mother. At the core of this story lies the healing power of love and the redemptive power of faith and hope.
I downloaded this ARC a year ago and I just "found" it again on my Kindle recently. I fell in love with the story to the extent that I went back and read a couple of the early novels in this series. I know it's a year already since release, but I have a strong belief that such positive powerful stories never grow old. I know it can be found in libraries and is on sale on several websites. It's a really lovely holiday story and I think you'll find it worth reading. I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.