Customer Reviews for

Christmas He Loved Her

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

It has taken Jake Edwards a year and a half to return back home

It has taken Jake Edwards a year and a half to return back home to idyllic Crystal Lake after his twin brother, Jesse was killed in action overseas. Jake had been part of the same unit and survived, but there were days he wished he hadn't. Frankly, he had avoided going ...
It has taken Jake Edwards a year and a half to return back home to idyllic Crystal Lake after his twin brother, Jesse was killed in action overseas. Jake had been part of the same unit and survived, but there were days he wished he hadn't. Frankly, he had avoided going home. Too afraid to face the pain in his parents faces, but especially to be confronted with Jesse's widow, Raine. 




All Raine can feel is fury, when she sees Jake standing on her front lawn. All this time she never heard from him, she needed him and he wasn't there for her. Yet there is part of her that can't help being relieved he is here. Losing her husband and having his brother, her best friend, disappear from her life permanently, would have devastated her beyond repair.




The past year and a half has done damage to everyone. Raine is is a mere shadow of her former self, functioning only to appease the outside world and to take care of her grieving in-laws, but barely cares to take care of herself. And pain and guilt have become so overwhelming for Jake, that he has completely shut off from everyone, attempting to hide in work.




But when Jake's father becomes ill, and Jake finally returns home and is confronted with his parents and Raine, he realizes that he is done hiding. Buying and restoring an old local home is a catalyst for the reparations to be made in his life. With life long friends, with his parents and most importantly, with Raine, who he's loved all his life. She can see the monsters that haunt him and won't rest until they're gone, and there is only one way left for them to go........forward.




**********




OMG..... Within a few pages I could feel myself getting emotionally yanked into this story. 




Such a devastating situation, with no easy resolution for anyone. You just know whatever scabs have formed have to come off before any of the wounds can heal properly.......for anyone involved. 




Only 25% into the story, I felt such a strong connection with the two main characters, that my emotions would run the gamut along with theirs. This was NOT what I expected when I read the title of this book, but what an amazing surprise!




A family so intensely affected by the loss of one of their sons, lost in battle, who each in their own way, are trying to cope with the everyday life after. 
The parents try to avoid thinking too much about the actual loss, about what happened and attempt to focus on what they have left; one son, and a daughter in law, who has always been more like their own daughter. 




Raine who initially tries to find Jake for comfort, is forced to turn her grief inside and focuses on functioning instead. Mostly for the sake of her inlaws, for whom she is concerned, especially with Jake's absence. When her father in law becomes ill, even more responsibility comes Raine's way, she finally isn't able to hold herself together anymore, and her job falls a victim. Once Jake returns, and despite her anger at him, he returns some colour to her days, and her battle to regain herself begins. 




Most conflicted in his pain and grief is Jake. Not only is he the single one person who was present when his brother died, but he has some serious doubts as to the state of mind his brother was in, and this is a load he has to carry alone. No one wants to hear what happened and he is not sure he can bear to tell anyone, but he aches to unburden himself. He also lost his brother, his twin and best friend. He grieved for his parents and felt guilt towards them. But again, most of the conflict he felt was with respect to Raine. He loved his brother's wife, couldn't bear to see her in pain and was unsure how to be the friend he had always portrayed to be when all he wanted was to be the lover he didn't deserve to be. 




What struck me most about this book was how respectful it was of all of the different types of grief and how people deal with it. I really felt there was no judgement from the author, she just allowed the characters to handle it the way they needed to handle it. It may sound like it is a depressing story, but really it is not........it is quite a hopeful book, an incredibly realistic tale of the different ways of coping with loss and how we sometimes can be our own roadblocks in healing. 




I had previously read a few works by Juliana Stone, and I knew she could write and that her steamy style appealed to me, but this one blew me away!! The book is not only incredibly moving, it is very passionate and sensual in all the right places!




 I hope people will take the time to read this review and take my words to heart........this book is worth it!!!




¿A gorgeous, utterly compelling and intensely emotional read!!¿




**ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Sourcebooks in return for an honest review.**

posted by RipeForReader on September 30, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Confused

What was in the bag?

posted by 6608225 on October 6, 2013

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  • Posted September 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Great book! Jake Edwards is back in Crystal Lake after a long a

    Great book!

    Jake Edwards is back in Crystal Lake after a long absence. He’s home to make amends to his sister-in-law, Raine, and for his brother, Jesse. Emotions running high, Jake must deal with the guilt he feels over his brother’s death, the anger and hurt his absence caused to his family and Raine, and the feelings between him and Raine that have always been there since they were young. The Christmas That He Loved Her brought me to tears several times throughout the book. To be able to evoke that kind of emotion from a reader is, in my opinion, the sign of a fabulous book. It’s definitely one for the keeper shelf.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2013

    It was great visiting the cast of characters from Crystal Lake.

    It was great visiting the cast of characters from Crystal Lake. After reading The Summer He Came Home and getting to know the Bad Boys of Crystal Lake, I was intrigued about Jake and his turbulent relationship with Raine.

    I understood perfectly from where Raine was coming from although I didn't know her complete story. It turns out that it was a doozy. Having spent most of her teenage age crushing on Jake, she ended up marrying the sweeter, more approachable Jesse. That's not to say that she didn't love Jesse, she just never got over her feelings for Jake. So when he returns and their relationship is nothing but a mess, she doesn't handle it well.

    Jake has always been attracted to Raine, more so after an unplanned encounter when they were just teenagers. Although he never resented his brother's decision to marry her, he never could get over her. Now that he is back, his emotions are all over the place. He knows he needs time to sort things through but being so close to Raine is not making things easier.

    I loved how Juliana Stone went about telling Raine and Jake's story. She didn't make it easy nor did she wrap it up with a pretty bow. It was hard, gritty and emotional. There were secrets shared, confessions made and passions unleashed. They each gave as good as they got and their chemistry along with their emotions jumped off the page.

    Although this is the second book in the Bad Boys of Crystal Lake series it can be read as a stand alone. Its focus is on the tumultuous relationship between Jake and Raine, how they overcome their issues and give in into the inevitable love that lies between them.

    I received this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

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  • Posted October 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Friendship, Loss, and Love...Get the tissue box! How can Jake Ed

    Friendship, Loss, and Love...Get the tissue box!
    How can Jake Edwards move on with his life when the person he needs the most is his twin brother's wife? Raine Delgotto Edwards is the one woman he has always loved. Jake had accepted she would never be his. His brother's death twists him up and his longing for Raine adds another level of guilt. Loving Raine would be so wrong. He leaves town on bad terms to return a year and a half later. Jake hopes to make amends, and perhaps unburden himself of the torment causing his nightmares.

    If you're looking for a poignant contemporary romance that will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride then "The Christmas He Loved Her" will deliver in spades! A husband dies in a war and his tormented twin brother, who served with him, returns with a promise to keep. The promise comes with complication, especially when it places Raine, within Jake's reach, and it compounds his guilt. The long history between Jake, one of the `Bad Boys of Crystal Lake,' and the girl he's known since childhood produces an intricate love story.

    The hero and heroine are as complicated as their situation, which was obvious in "The Summer He Came Home," the first book in the series. Jake returns to Crystal Lake a year and half later after leaving on bad terms with Raine, which wasn't shown in previous book. Each of them has secrets from each other and the reader; they are slowly revealed as the story rapidly progresses. Of the two main characters, I found Jake the least demanding. His struggles are easily understandable. He's torn-up by the death of his brother and we, the reader, know there's something he's not ready to tell us. It's an affective story, and I felt it was skillfully executed. Jake's family and friends had their place and time. Their behavior and actions felt honest.

    Raine presented a problem for me. I had to suspend my disbelief and accept her character as she was. Even though she felt like the right person for Jake and they had a strong bond, it was hard to understand the ease she'd entered a relationship her husband's twin brother, especially with the small town setting. It is explained, yet I struggled, and it is my main glitch with the story.

    While not exactly a holiday novel to deliver the warm fuzzies, "The Christmas He Loved Her" offers a passionate and moving romance. It was a rewarding read. I am definitely interested in reading more work by Juliana Stone, and highly recommend this book for those who enjoy emotional wringers.

    ARC courtesy of Sourcebooks Casablanca via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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