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This was it.
Luke Hamilton waited outside the big, rambling Victorian house in a little coastal town in Oregon, hands shoved into the pockets of his coat against the wet slap of air and nerves churning through him.
Elizabeth was here. After all the years when he had been certain she was dead — that she had wandered into the mountains somewhere that cold day seven years earlier or she had somehow walked into the deep, unforgiving waters of Lake Haven — he was going to see her again.
Though he had been given months to wrap his head around the idea that his wife wasn't dead, that she was indeed living under another name in this town by the sea, it still didn't seem real.
How was he supposed to feel in this moment? He had no idea. He only knew he was filled with a crazy mix of anticipation, fear and the low fury that had been simmering inside him for months, since the moment FBI agent Elliot Bailey had produced a piece of paper with a name and an address.
Luke still couldn't quite believe she was in there, the wife he had not seen in seven years. The wife who had disappeared off the face of the earth, leaving plenty of people to speculate that he had somehow hurt her, even killed her.
For all those days and months and years, he had lived with the ghost of Elizabeth Sinclair and the love they had once shared.
He was never nervous, damn it. So why did his skin itch and his stomach seethe and his hands grip the cold metal of the porch railing as if his suddenly weak knees would give way and make him topple over if he let go?
A moment later, he sensed movement inside the foyer of the house. The woman he had spoken with when he had first pulled up to this address, the woman who had been hanging Christmas lights around the big, charming home and who had looked at him with such suspicion and had not invited him to wait inside, opened the door. One hand was thrust into her coat pocket around a questionable-looking bulge.
She was either concealing a handgun or a Taser or pepper spray. Since he had never met the woman before, Luke couldn't begin to guess which. Her features had lost none of that alert wariness that told him she would do whatever necessary to protect Elizabeth.
He wanted to tell her he would never hurt his wife, but it was a refrain he had grown tired of repeating. Over the years, he had become inured to people's opinions on the matter. Let them think what the hell they wanted. He knew the truth.
"Where is she?" he demanded.
There was a long pause, like some tension-filled moment just before the gunfight in Old West movies. He wouldn't have been surprised if tumbleweeds suddenly blew down the street.
Then, from behind the first woman, another figure stepped out onto the porch, slim and blonde and ... shockingly familiar.
He stared, stunned to his bones. It was her. Not Elizabeth. Her. He had seen this woman around his small Idaho town of Haven Point several times over the last few years, fleeting glimpses only out of the corner of his gaze at a baseball game or a school program.
The mystery woman.
He assumed she had been there to watch one of the other children. Maybe an aunt from out of town, someone he didn't know.
Luke had noticed her ... and had hated the tiny little glow of attraction that had sparked to life.
He hadn't wanted to be aware of any other woman. What was the point? For years, he thought his heart had died when Elizabeth walked away. He figured everything good and right inside him had shriveled up and he had nothing left to give another woman.
Despite his anger at himself for the unwilling attraction to a woman he could never have, he had come to look forward to those random glimpses of the beautiful mystery woman who wore sunglasses and floppy hats, whose hair was a similar color to his wife's but whose features were very different. For the first time since he had pulled up to Brambleberry House, he began to wonder if he had been wrong. If Elliot had been wrong, if his investigation had somehow gone horribly off track.
What if this wasn't Elizabeth? What if it was all some terrible mistake?
He didn't know what to say, suddenly. Did he tell them both he had erred, make some excuse and disappear? He was about to do just that when he saw her eyes, a clear, startling blue with a dark, almost black, ring around the irises.
He knew those eyes. It was her.
There was nervousness in them, yes, but no surprise, almost as if she had been expecting him.
She flinched a little at the name. "No one has ... called me that in a very long time."
Her voice was the second confirmation, the same husky alto that had haunted his dreams every single night for seven years.
The other woman stared at her. "Sonia. What is going on?
Who is this man? Why is he calling you Elizabeth?"
"It is ... a really long story, Rosa."
"He says he is your husband."
"He was. A long time ago."
The anger simmered hotter, flaring up like a controlled burn that was trying to jump the ditch. He did his best to tamp it down. He would not become his father, no matter the provocation.
"I'm still your husband. Nothing has changed. Until we divorce or you are declared dead, we are very much still married in the eyes of the law."
Her mouth opened again, eyes shocked as if she had never considered the possibility. Maybe as far as she was concerned, her act of walking away without a word had terminated their marriage.
It had in every way except the official one. "I ... guess that's probably true."
"That's why I'm here. I need you to come back to Haven Point so we can end this thing once and for all." He was un able to keep the bitterness out of his voice. "It shouldn't be that hard for you. You know the way. Apparently you've been back to town plenty of times. You just never bothered to stop and say hello to me or your two children."
Her skin, already pale in the weak December afternoon light, seemed to turn ashen, and Luke was immediately ashamed at his cruelty. He tried to be better than that, to take the higher ground in most situations. He was uncomfortably aware that this unwanted reunion with his long-missing wife would likely bring out the worst in him.
The other woman looked shocked. "You have children? I don't understand any of this, Sonia."
She winced. "It's so complicated, Rosa. I don't know ... where to start. I ... My name isn't Sonia, as you've obviously ... figured out. He is right. It is Elizabeth Hamilton, and this ... this is my husband, Lucas."
The other woman was slow to absorb the information, but after a shocked moment, her gaze narrowed and she moved imperceptibly in front of Elizabeth, as if her slight frame could protect her friend.
It was a familiar motion, one that intensified his shame. How many times had he done the same thing, throwing his body in front of his mother and then his stepmother? By the time he was big enough and tough enough to make a difference, his father was dead and no longer a threat.
"Are you afraid of this man?" Rosa demanded. "Has he hurt you? I can call Chief Townsend. He would be here in a moment."
Elizabeth put a hand on the other woman's arm. It was clear they were close friends. The wild pendulum of Luke's emotions right now swung back to anger. Somehow she had managed to form friendships with other people, to completely move on with her life, while he had been suffocating for seven years under the weight of rumor and suspicion.
"It is fine, Rosa. Thank you. Please don't worry about me. I ... I need to speak with ... with my husband. We have ... much to discuss. Go on inside. I'll talk to you later and ... and try to explain."
Rosa was clearly reluctant to leave. She hovered on the porch, sending him mistrustful looks. He wanted to tell her not to waste her energy. He'd spent years developing a thick skin when it came to people suspecting him of being a monster.
"I'm here," she said firmly. "I'll wait inside. You only have to call out. And Melissa is in her apartment as well. We won't let anything happen to you."
"Nothing is going to happen to me," Elizabeth assured her. "Luke won't hurt me."
"Don't be so sure of that," he muttered, though it was a lie. Some might think him a monster but he suspected Elizabeth knew he could never lay a hand on her.
First of all, it wasn't in his nature. Second, he had spent his entire life working toward self-mastery and iron control — doing whatever necessary to avoid becoming his father.
After another moment, Rosa turned around and slipped through the carved front door, reluctance apparent in every line of her body. On some level, Luke supposed he should be grateful Elizabeth had people willing to stand up and protect her.
"How did you ...? How did you find me?"
He still didn't know everything Elliot had gone through to locate her. He knew the FBI agent had spent long hours tracking down leads after a truck driver came forward years later to say that on the night Elizabeth disappeared, the trucker thought she gave a woman resembling Elizabeth's description a ride to a truck stop in central Oregon.
Somehow from that slim piece of information, Elliot had undergone an impressive investigation on his own time and managed to put the pieces of the puzzle together. If not for Elliot, Luke wouldn't be here in front of this big oceanfront Victorian in Cannon Beach and this familiar but not familiar woman.
Thinking about Elliot Bailey always left him conflicted, too. He was grateful to the man but still found it weird to think of his former best friend with Megan, Luke's younger sister. After several months, he was almost used to the idea of them being together.
"I didn't." He jerked his attention back to the moment. "Elliot Bailey did. That's not really important, is it? The point is, now I know where you are. But then, I guess you were never really lost, were you? We only thought you were. You've certainly been back to Haven Point in your little disguise plenty of times over the years."
It burned him, knowing he hadn't recognized his own wife. When he looked closer now, knowing what he did, he could see more hints of the woman he had loved. The brows were the same, arched and delicate, and her lips were still full and lush. But her face was more narrow, her nose completely different and her cheekbones higher and more defined.
Why had she undergone so much plastic surgery? It was one more mystery amid dozens.
"What do you want, Luke?"
"I told you. I need you to come home. At this moment, the Lake Haven County district attorney's office is preparing to file charges against me related to your disappearance and apparent murder."
"Elliot has tried to convince the woman you're still very much alive. He hasn't had much luck, especially considering he's all but a member of the family and will be marrying my sister in a few months. The DA plans to move forward and arrest me in hopes of forcing me to tell them where I hid your body."
"Wait — what? Elliot and Megan are together? When did that happen?"
He barely refrained from grinding his teeth. "Not really the point, is it? This has gone on long enough. I'm going to be arrested, Elizabeth. Before the holidays, if my sources are right. The district attorney is determined to send a message that men in her jurisdiction can't get away with making their wives disappear. I'm going to go to jail, at least for a while. Our children have already spent enough Christmases without one parent. Do you want them to lose the other one?" "Of course not."
He didn't know whether to believe her or not. How could he? He didn't even know this woman, despite the fact that she had once been closer to him than anyone else on earth.
"Then grab your things and let's go."
Her eyes looked huge in her face as she stared at him, making him more angry at himself for not recognizing her. He should have known her. Yes, she had worn sunglasses and hats, but he somehow still should have sensed Elizabeth looking back at him.
Once, those eyes had looked at him with passion, with hunger, with a love that made him ache. Now they were filled with fear and reluctance. "I ... You want to leave right this minute?"
No. If he had any choice, he would keep her out of his life and the lives of Cassie and Bridger forever. Circumstances and a zealous district attorney had made that impossible.
"Yeah. Yeah, I do."
"I can't just ... just leave."
"Why? Seems to me you're really good at leaving."
She gripped her hands tightly together. "I have a life here in Cannon Beach. Responsibilities."
"What's the problem? You have a husband and two kids here that you don't want to walk away from?"
Though he told himself this wasn't the way to accomplish what he needed from her, he couldn't seem to stop his cruel words.
He was so damn angry. It didn't matter how many times he told himself he needed to stay in control. She had ripped apart the entire fabric of his life seven years ago, destroyed everything they had tried to create together.
He had thought she was dead. He had grieved, filled with raw guilt and wrenching pain that he hadn't been able to help her. For seven years, he had imagined the worst.
He had said earlier that she had never been lost, but both of them knew that wasn't strictly true. Seven years ago, the wife he had cherished with all his heart had been lost to him, trapped in a deep, dark place, a tangle of postpartum depression and grief over the accidental deaths of her parents.
He hadn't been able to reach her. Nor had any of the professionals he had taken her to or any of the therapies they had tried.
For seven years, until Elliot Bailey took up the search and found Sonia Davis, he thought his beloved Elizabeth had surrendered to that vast chasm of depression and taken her own life.
He had never imagined that she had simply moved away, changed her appearance and her name and started a life without him and their children.
He let out a breath, pushing away the deep betrayal. "We have to go."
"I ... I was planning to go to Haven Point next week. I have a plane ticket and everything."
"Not good enough. Sources tell me charges are being filed this week. The DA's office won't listen to reason, but I figure she'll have to listen when the supposed victim herself shows up. We have to get back to town before then. This storm is only going to intensify and I would like to beat it. Grab your things and let's go."
He wouldn't let her slip away this time. His children depended on it.
Luke was here.
After all these years, he was here, standing on the porch of Brambleberry House.
She couldn't quite believe this was really happening. Her day had started out so normally. She took her dozen different medications, meditated, went through the routine of exercises she used to keep her battered body from seizing up. She had gone to the greenhouse for a few hours. Her hands still smelled like the pine branches she had woven together for evergreen wreaths.
All in all, it had been a routine day. She never expected that before the day was out, she would be here talking to her husband, the man she had loved since she was eighteen years old. She had imagined this day so many times, had dreamed of the chance to see him again, to explain the choices she had made and the terrible consequences that had resulted from those choices.
Now that he was here, she felt tongue-tied, constrained by all the years and miles and choices between them.
What could she say? No words would ever make up for what she had done.
Of course she couldn't go with him. She had a job here. She worked at the garden center and was busy this time of year selling Christmas trees and wreaths, working on floral arrangements, planning ahead for the growing season.
She was also responsible for the gardens here at Brambleberry House — though admittedly, that wasn't a very good excuse this time of year. She had already supervised the Christmas decorating in the garden and wouldn't have anything to do until spring began its slow return to this part of the Oregon Coast.
Returning to Haven Point didn't terrify her. As he pointed out, she had been back a dozen times over the last several years.
It was the idea of returning to Haven Point with Lucas Hamilton that made her blood run cold.
Her stomach twisted into knots. He wanted her to drive there with him. It was eight hours from here. Eight hours in a car with a man who had every reason to despise her. She couldn't possibly do it.
But what choice did she have? If she could believe him — and she had no reason to think he was lying, as he had always been honest with her — she had to return to Haven Point or he would be arrested. She couldn't let that happen. She had already put him and their children through so very much.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Coming Home for Christmas"
Copyright © 2019 RaeAnne Thayne.
Excerpted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
a very well written story of second chances and love. there will be tears as the main characters find their way back to each other. there will also be aww moments as well. a story of deep depression, an accident,and a long healing. i will read this one again, it was that good.
I love RaeAnne’s books and I love the Haven Point series. RaeAnne makes you feel like you are right there with these characters in Haven Point and going through everything with them. Their struggles are so very realistic that you and I can identify with. Thank you for such a great book RaeAnne!
Ms Thayne can surely write a book that will keep you hooked till the last page and makes you turn pages as fast as you can. I loved the story and rooted for the fleshed out and realistic characters. It's an engrossing and entertaining read, heartwarming and full of Christmas spirit. Highly recommended! Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Another great book! This is a continuation of the Haven Point series and this series never disappoints. This one is the story of Luke and his children. His wife went missing and he has been living under a cloud of suspicion that he murdered her, and the town has been whispering for years. This book answers all the question and is so heart lifting and makes you want to cheer for everyone. It is such a good read and a great Christmas story. RaeAnne never disappoints and leaves you wanting more.
This was one of the sweetest second chance romances that I have read. Sonia/Elizabeth is given a second chance to be with her husband and two children. After missing for seven years, Luke finally confronts his missing wife and drags her back to their hometown to clear his name for her murder. Upon seeing her, he realizes that he has seen her disguised around town at different functions that their children were in and this just adds to his bewilderment and anger. It isn't until Elizabeth tells her story to the acting DA that Luke begins to realize just exactly what all his estranged wife has been thru since her disappearance and he begins to question his feelings. Elizabeth is so surprised to see Luke on her doorstep, but once she realizes just what is at stake, she is willing to do anything to keep Luke out of jail. Although she knows in her head that her disappearance affected people, it isn't until she is actually confronted by her husband, children and former friends that she realizes just how deep that hurt runs. This book was a wonderful telling of how two lost, hurting and misguided souls learn to embrace the spirit of forgiveness, not only for themselves, but for each other. It is also touching to read about Elizabeth and trying to reconnect with her two children. I definitely recommend this book. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and a hard copy from the author, this is my voluntary review of Coming Home for Christmas. This is a fabulously wonderful book exploring love, pain, and forgiveness. No one writes a love story better than RaeAnne Thayne!!! Coming Home is a book that you want to end but you don't want to end. I'm so sad when I finish one of That he's books but my heart is happy! ☺ I highly recommend this book to all readers. Enjoy!
Great read told about tragic family story. Loved it.
Luke Hamilton’s wife, Elizabeth, disappeared 7 years ago from Haven Point, Idaho. She left him and their 2 children without warning. People had been speculating that Luke had killed her. Elliott is Luke’s former best friend. Elliott is now an FBI agent and engaged to Luke’s sister Megan. For the last 7 years, Elliott had suspected Luke had hurt Elizabeth. A truck driver came forward years after Elizabeth’s disappearance. The driver claimed to have given a ride to a woman fitting Elizabeth’s description, on the night she disappeared. Elliott spent long hours tracking down the lead. And he found her in Oregon! Doing the right thing, Elliott gave the information to Luke who had now known for months that Elizabeth was alive. Things had gotten very serious when the police chief warned Luke the DA planned to arrest him for the disappearance and presumed murder of Elizabeth. Luke had no choice now. He had to go to Oregon to confront her and bring her back to Haven Point. When Luke sees this woman he is shocked, it’s her! But he doesn’t recognize her as Elizabeth. It’s the mystery woman he has seen around Haven Point over the years. But he does recognize her eyes, Elizabeth’s eyes. She has been living under a different name, Sonia Davis. Luke explains how he found her and why she needs to come with him to Haven Point. She can speak to the DA to clear things up and he will fly her back to Oregon. Facing a long drive, Luke makes it clear he isn’t going to make small talk or have anything to do with her. When she asks doesn’t he want to know what happened or why she left, he doesn’t. He only wants her to talk to the DA. Bad weather conditions cause them to find a place to stay the night. Finding one of the last rooms available they stop. As Elizabeth waits for Luke to check them in, she introduces herself to another guest as Sonia Davis. She thinks to herself that is the name she was given 7 years ago. Luke avoids being in the room with her as long as possible. When he goes to the room she is asleep. In the middle of the night Elizabeth is having a bad dream, saying please don’t hurt me. He puts his arms around her and it is like the last 7 years melt away. When she awakens and he asks about the dream she brushes it off. Things are back to being tense. Almost to Haven Point, Elizabeth recognizes the landscape and more memories come to her. As Luke turns on their road she panics She also sees no sign of life. He tells her there’s not much there as he unlocks the door. It’s empty ! No pictures or knickknacks. Very little furniture. She asks where the children are. He says at school until he picks them up and they they’ll be at his home. He won’t let her see or talk to them. More harsh words and he leaves. He will be back in the morning to take her to the DA. Is that going to be it, see the DA tomorrow and fly back to Oregon? There’s much more to the story ........ and well worth your time to read it!
Coming Home for Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne, reminds me on how much I enjoy Christmas stories and miracles are possible. This book to me is one of my absolute favorites of the Haven Point series. They are all exceptional! This one pulled at my heart and felt sadness, heartache and finding unity all rolled up in one. This is so well written and you will find out for yourself as you get into the story and new beginnings. You will love it and won't want to put it down. Amazing storyteller.
This is the 10th book in the Haven Point series, however the books may be read as stand alones. I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This book is Luke and Elizabeth’s story. Seven years prior to the beginning of the book, Elizabeth had walked out of the house on a stormy, wintry night, never to be heard from again. Her parents, with whom she had been very close, had died suddenly and she had suffered from post-partum depression. She was depressed after her parents’ deaths which increased after the birth of her daughter, Cassie. She was feeling better and thought another child would help. Luke was unsure, but was willing to do whatever she wanted if it would help her. The post-partum depression was much worse. Although some people in Haven Point made Luke’s life quite miserable, accusing him of having killed Elizabeth and disposing of her body, he remained in his hometown and raised two beautiful, kind children. Through a series of events, Elizabeth took the identity of another woman, Sonia, and was living hundreds of miles away in Oregon. Luke’s friend and future brother-in-law, FBI agent Elliot Bailey, investigated the cold case and found Sonia/Elizabeth. When the new DA decided to press charges against Luke in the murder of his wife he decided he needed to bring her back to Haven Point whether she wanted to go or not. He and his children had anger issues due to her abandonment seven years before. Luke was so angry with her that he would not listen to her explanations until she told the DA the entire story. The book gives a perspective on how each member of the family feels as they come to grips with reuniting with Elizabeth during the holiday season.
This book will just break your heart. A father is left with his young son and daughter when his wife disappears without a word. Even worse, he is suspected of murdering her. For years, Luke has wondered what happened to make his wife leave but never did he imagine that it was because of severe depression leading her to sacrifice her family, thinking that they would be better off without her. The extent of her depression can never be understood except by someone who has gone through the same. What I always love about Ms Thayne's story is that she brings real issues into her stories and weave it into a tale that allows readers to have hope, to know that they are not the only one with issues and someday, somewhere, things will change. Her stories are not just mere romance but stories of magic and hope.
Coming Home for Christmas is a story about second chances, family, healing and forgiveness. This is a beautifully written story that will definately tear at your heart strings and expose raw emotions. RaeAnne Thayne had created loveable characters you cant help but cheer for. I do have to say I did struggle with this book at times because I am a mom of two little ones and it felt unrealistic at times. I recieved an ARC and this is my honest opinion.
If, like me, readers of the Haven Point series have been wondering about Luke and Elizabeth Hamilton – this is their book. Her disappearance several years earlier sparked many wild theories among locals, none that placed Luke in a positive light. When Elizabeth comes back to Haven Point she reveals what happened. Perhaps a bit far-fetched but Thayne gives readers a plausible story. This novel touches on depression (clinical and postpartum) and my heart went out to Elizabeth and the family she left behind. Coming Home for Christmas is a story of forgiveness and courage – and love. Perfect themes for the season. Recommended to fans of the series, RaeAnne Thayne, and a good Christmas story.
I always expect an amazing book from this author, especially during the holidays. This book…it was so much more for me. It grabbed my heart from the very first pages and never let go, even after I finished. I won’t retell the story – you should read it for yourself as Ms. Thayne does a much better job than I ever could – but I can tell you some of the things I loved. What happens to Elizabeth Hamilton is devastating. What starts as postpartum depression morphs into something so bad that it gutted me. Even with the unbelievable seven years she went missing, I loved how her character had to learn how to just ‘be’ again. She sacrificed a life with her family, thinking they were better off without her. And Luke, her husband, is so strong and although he is unbelievably angry with his formerly missing wife (and he has his reasons), he still has a heart of gold and listens to that heart when it tells him to listen, watch and help Elizabeth… It’s those cues and clues that can bring them together. And the children…OMG, your heart will embrace them, break for them, and joyously burst, all in the same book. I loved how this family worked hard to come together again through their individual grief. Luke was an amazing father to his two young children, especially while his wife was “lost”, and the kids are truly characters. I really was engaged from the start of the book, well past the end. Coming Home for Christmas is a special holiday read.
This is the first Christmas book of 2019 for me. While I am not ready for Christmas, I loved this story. Luke is a single dad raising two wonderful children. Elizabeth is a mother that left her family for reasons that she could not tell them at the time. Now they are all back in the same town, gossips are talking, rumors are running wild, but most importantly feelings are coming back to life after being pushed down for so long. I loved how Luke was raising his kids. They were no doubt that they were loved, but they were not spoiled. The shoveled their neighbors’ sidewalks, were taught to respect other people even if they didn’t really like them, and most of all they knew right from wrong. The fact that their mother abandoned them without giving them a reason meant that they had issues to deal with it but Luke was honest with them and respected their feelings. I did struggle with Luke forgiving Elizabeth and letting her back into their lives so quickly. There was a reason she left, I respect that she did what she did to keep her family safe, but she was gone for 7 years. That’s a long time to just forgive and jump back into a relationship with her and let her come back into her children’s lives. RaeAnne Thayne has a talent for writing books that have real characters, wonderful settings, and a storyline that pulls the reader right in. I always recommend her book and am now ready to start reading more Christmas books.
I feel redundant in saying, RaeAnne Thayne has done it again! But it is the truth! Nothing is better than a Christmas romance written by RaeAnne Thayne. Unless maybe, a Haven Point Christmas story which also includes old friends (characters) from Brambleberry House series. Reading and collecting Christmas stories is one of my all time favorite things to do in the fall, and this one is definitely going on my "keeper" shelf so that I can recommend it and loan it out to my bookie friends. If you follow the Haven Point series, this is book 10. It is Luke and Elizabeth Hamilton's story of love, disappointment, heartache, and second chances. Luke was introduced in The Cottages on Silver Beach. Elizabeth disappeared 7 years ago, Luke and the entire town of Haven Point of course have not been able to put this mystery behind them, especially since Elizabeth and Luke have two beautiful children left without knowing what happened to their mother. Reading the depth of character and feeling that RaeAnne Thayne is able to put into words as she writes so that the reader experiences the raw emotions of all the tragic pieces that put Elizabeth into a deep state of mental illness that took years to finally pull out of. It teaches us to not give up, no matter how complicated and devastating the issues you are facing. The bond of mother, children, true love, and family, along with the miracle of the Christmas season, this story will grab your heart and hold it tight until the very end!
RaeAnne Thayne stories are always really good, but this one reached right out of the book and grabbed me by the throat! I literally could not read fast enough to figure out what was going on and what was going to happen. The characters of Elizabeth and Luke had a love that should have gone on forever, but circumstances pulled them apart and keep them separated from each other for years. The obstacles were so devastating, that a reunion certainly didn't seem in the works. When Luke is facing charges in her disappearance and death, Elizabeth has no choice but return to help clear his name. There are more obstacles that she encounters--one being her daughter that wants nothing to do with her. If the family tries to put up a happy front, will Christmas magic be enough to restore the love of the family? This is a perfect Christmas read! It has snow, hot chocolate, warmth, love and yes, Christmas magic. I was given a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.
Elizabeth has been involved in multiple tragic events, including postpartum depression which caused her to run from her children before she hurt them, and a car accident which stole her memories. It's been a long road back and she has finally managed to piece her history together, but doesn't believe she deserves to have the family she loves. When her husband, who has been accused of her murder, shows up and demands that she come home to straighten things out and sign divorce papers, she's beyond stunned. The road back is tenuous an difficult, as is the journey trust to become a family again. A very emotional read, and wonderful story about the magic of Christmas. Definitely recommend! (less)
I received this ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review. Coming Home for Christmas is book 10 in the Haven Point series. I have always enjoyed the books on this series, and wow this one certainly didn't disappoint. Such an amazing story, that pulled out so many emotions from me, that is what I look for in a book one that can touch so many of my emotions. We met Luke and Elizabeth in a earlier book and this book helped to bring that story to an amazing HEA. I would certainly recommend this book to everyone.
This is a book that defines the "spirit of Christmas" for me. It is one of those books that IMPACTS a reader long after you have read it. I will remember this story and the characters for many years to come. You hear about postpartum depression but you don't really know the depths that a woman can sink to and what she is capable of thinking, feeling and doing when it hits. We tend to think that she can control her thoughts and actions and just "get over it". Sadly, that is not always true. In this story, the author confronts postpartum depression head on and shows how deeply it can effect some women. I hope that doesn't scare off any readers because this book is amazing! The characters are realistic, loving, tender, yet also, angry and frustrated! Seven years ago Elizabeth suffered from postpartum depression and rather than hurt her baby, she walked away from her family without telling them but then other things happened to her and they've had no idea where she was. She has suffered physically and mentally a great deal. Her husband, Luke, finally gets a tip that leads him to her and justifiably he's angry, thinking she just walked away willingly. When the whole story comes out, everyone, including the reader will be touched immeasurably. The harsh words and anger were hard to read at times but that is realistic! That's what would happen in real life. However, Elizabeth is an amazing person and I loved how she stood up to it all and did what she could to repair the relationship with Luke and her children. A MUST READ!!!!
RaeAnne Thayne gifts her readers with an emotionally gripping Christmas story, Coming Home For Christmas. This addition to her Haven Point series also includes characters from her Brambleberry House series. I loved the meshing of the two series and visiting beloved characters from other Thayne books. Coming Home for Christmas is the long awaited love story of Luke Hamilton and his long lost wife Elizabeth. Every word Thayne writes is carefully chosen to portray emotion and character. Post- partum depression and clinical depression are realistically portrayed especially how this disease can rip apart families and the individuals with depression. “ the wife he had cherished with all his heart had been lost to him, trapped in a deep, dark place, a tangle of postpartum depression and grief over the accidental death of her parents.” I did find it hard to imagine a family with so many issues – loss of parents in an accident, a husband with an abusive father, loss of memory, brain injury, mistaken identity, life-altering physical injuries, seizures and murder accusations.” I did love the characters especially the children, Bridger and Cassie. Thayne relates to children. I also loved the pay it forward theme with the Sparks family. Thayne is an author who consistently writes inspiring prose. Each word portrays the story and emotion to grab the reader. “She had ripped apart the entire fabric of his life seven years ago.” “ I guess that’s what Christmas is about. Forgiveness. Second chances. Being kind to those who sometimes make it hard.” Coming Home for Christmas is an emotional novel – an inspiring story from RaeAnne Thayne to her readers.
Luke & Elizabeth's story is here! This is a story about hope, forgiveness & TRUE love. I am a sucker for "happily ever after" stories and RaeAnne Thayne nails it with this one!! I experienced a myriad of emotions while reading this book. I LOVE Haven Point...the characters are friends that I enjoy catching up with and it feels like "going home" with every book in this series that I read.
COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS was quite the read! Elizabeth left home seven years ago, and now, her husband Luke has come to bring her back. At the beginning, we know that her disappearance was complicated, though the details take some time to reveal. Luke and Elizabeth have two children, Cassie (now 10) and Bridger (now almost 8), who have grown up believing their mother was dead, since this was what Luke believed. Luke was surprised when his friend and FBI agent told him Elizabeth was still alive and living elsewhere under an assumed name. However, now that the DA is set to prosecute him for her presumed murder, Luke is determined to go get her and clear his name. Emotions run wild and he cannot bear to hear her story- until he absolutely must when she gives it to the DA. The seven years between them and the time before she left, when she was suffering from clinical depression compounded by postpartum depression, make their reunion complicated. As they hear each other's stories, they begin to consider how they can move forward and make a better life. Despite the strange premise, the book feels somehow well-explained and thought-out. Nothing felt so outlandish, and the characters were completely sympathetic and reasonable. I really loved the whole thing, and the Christmas setting only added to the magic of it all. The descriptions of depression seemed really well done, and the characters felt so real- even the kids. This really could be a beautiful Hallmark Christmas movie, and I loved watching Luke and Elizabeth come back together after so much hardship and difficulties. I would add warnings for suicidal ideation and depression (both past). Overall, this is a strong book about overcoming accidents/mistakes and moving forward with love, set at Christmastime. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
A lovely story about a woman finding her way back to both her family and herself. This explores some tough and real mental health issues in a sensitive and positive way. Elizabeth suffered post partum depression after Bridger's birth and then her parents died. She opted to leave her family. Her husband Luke struggled with raising Bridger and Cassie but he did a good job. Now, though, he's finally found her and he needs her to step up and more than anything else, admit that she's alive because he's been under a heavy cloud of suspicion since she disappeared. Can she come back for a HEA? It's Christmas and it's Haven Point so you kinda know it will work out, don't you? That doesn't mean there isn't drama along the way. Thayne has created some terrific characters here. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A very good read.
I have been waiting for Luke's story and I was not disappointed. He is stubborn, but he is also loving and forgiving. At first he doesn't want to hear why Elizabeth left him or why she stayed away. But, once he finds out, he can't help but think it was partially his fault. He has been raising their two children by himself for seven years and all of a sudden Elizabeth is back in his life. Should he let her see the children? What if she takes off again? Elizabeth has had it rough during the time she was gone, but she wants to make it right. Even if that means that she has to leave Luke and the children again. They deserve better than what her life has become. Can they reunite? Will the children accept her? Will love conquer all?