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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Kelsey loves horses. In fact, she went to vet school to train to care for their medical needs. But when a racehorse died in her care, she couldn’t take the guilt and she dropped out just shy of graduating. Veterinarian medicine isn’t the only thing Kelsey’s backed away from. Next on her list is men. So, when her sister, Anna, suggests a family Christmas at the Starlight Inn in British Columbia’s interior, Kelsey is not expecting to find romance, not with a horse and definitely not with a man. But, life has other plans and Kelsey is confronted with all kinds of feelings she had buried deep when a special horse, one who’s very sick and needs constant medical care, and the man, Dane, who cares for it appear. Throw a true Canadian winter storm in the mix – well, what can you expect? It’s Christmas, after all, and there’s all kinds of sparks flying.
Jessica Anne Renwick’s novel, Holiday Hopes, is the third book in her Starlight Inn series. Set in the picturesque mountains of British Columbia, the author’s use of thorough and interesting descriptive narrative to set the stage makes for an engaging read. The characters are well defined and the use of dialogue is both believable and entertaining. The plot develops at a good pace and the reader is instantly engrossed in the unravelling of conflicting feelings and emotions. Both Kelsey and Dane come from dysfunctional families and they both have a passion for horses; the two are also determined to refrain from any emotional attachments for surprisingly similar reasons. Is that enough to tie them together? This is a sweet, gentle romance, clean and forward moving, a great comforting read for the holiday season.