Book Review: An Aspen Creek Christmas by Roxanne Rustand

Posted December 9, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: An Aspen Creek Christmas by Roxanne Rustand

I received this book for free from a friend in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

An Aspen Creek Christmas by Roxanne Rustand
Genres: Inspirational Romance
Published by Love Inspired on November 22, 2016
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: a friend

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Fourth in the Aspen Creek Crossroads inspirational romance series and revolving around two orphaned children whose aunt and uncle are battling for custody. Set in northern Wisconsin.

My Take

It’s easy to see how this sweet, cozy story will end; the fun is in following the path for its details. Details that include a homey little village where everyone knows everyone else, and cares about each other; the care and concerns Ethan and Hannah take over the children in giving them confidence, boosting their self-esteem, and dealing with their grief; and, the positive approach Hannah has about the holidays. It certainly helps that Rustand has made Hannah an animal lover *grin*

It’s a rough time for Hannah, Molly, and Cole, as they all try to come to terms with the loss of Molly and Cole’s parents. It’s the grief, starting over at a new school, the dramas of childhood, dealing with night terrors, making new friends, and the memories of holidays past.

Rustand complicates things with Hannah and Ethan having had a painful past along with both of them making snap judgements and both having reservations about the other. I am confused about Ethan’s thought processes. He thinks he lost something precious in the past (and screwed up in his closer past), but then he also believes that Hannah’s a flake. Huh? I’m also curious as to how Ethan thinks he can handle two kids without any experience or any support system?

“I threw away something I knew I’d never find again.”

Ooh, mama! That Hannah gets in some nice zingers! The one that sticks out is when she says she was made a laughingstock, but she figures she was saved from a lifetime of living with her worst fears, although it does get monotonous with Hannah and Ethan going over and over (with each other and in their own thoughts) about how awful everything is/was, so it is with some relief that I got to the end in that respect.

That Great-aunt Cynthia is a pip…a rotten one, and I gotta wonder about her reasoning.

Rustand did a great job of slowly bringing the children out of their shells. And I loved how caring and patient both Hannah and Ethan are. It’s enough to make you hug yourself with happiness!

The Story

It’s a bitter custody battle for the children, and Hannah is determined to keep them, to give them a welcoming, loving home, to grant them a sense of permanency.

It’s no surprise that Hannah feels she has a good chance of having the children, for their uncle still hasn’t come home to see the kids. Not in the seven months since his brother and his wife were killed. But how can Hannah compete with the wealthy Great-aunt Cynthia bearing down with her lawyers?

The Characters

Hannah Dorchester, the children’s godmother, is a physician’s assistant at the Aspen Creek Clinic and runs a volunteer animal rescue. Some of her rescue animals include Maisie, a retriever; Bootsie is the basset hound; Eenie, Meanie, and Moe are the kittens; Penelope is the Shetland pony; Mabel, Ruth, and Louise are the chickens; and, Belle is the dog Molly helps rescue.

Eleven-year-old Molly and six-year-old Cole are still reeling from their parents’ death and their time spent with Great-aunt Cynthia. Dee and Rob Williams were their parents. I think Dee was Hannah’s sister??

Uncle Ethan Williams was Rob’s brother, Cynthia’s nephew, the children’s godfather, and a soldier. Janet is his ex-wife. David Benson, an ex-Marine, is a high school acquaintance now running a security business in Dallas. Tommy Joe is another soldier. God knows why Great-aunt Cynthia, a wealthy widow, in Dallas, Texas, is so determined to keep the kids who were orphaned seven months ago in Texas.

Some of Hannah’s friends include Keeley North, who owns an antique shop (her fiancé, Connor Rafferty, is a former rodeo star; The Single Dad’s Redemption, 3); Sophie McLaren who has a son, Eli, while Dr. Josh McLaren who works at the hospital is her husband (Second Chance Dad, 2); Beth Stone (she runs the bookstore, and her husband, Devlin, who was also in the army; Winter Reunion, 1); and, Olivia Lawson who is in the local book club.

Faith and her cousin Joanie will be fellow students. Teachers include the tough Mrs. Stone for math, the nice Mrs Fisher for English, Miss Hayward, Mr. Coe, and Mrs. Belkin.

Pete drives the sleigh drawn by Frank and Earl. Bill Jacobs is the fire chief; Marnie is his wife. Gladys Rexworth is another wealthy woman who knows how to hold a grudge. Margaret (she has a son, Trevor) has some good advice about skates. Dr. Darcy Leighton is a veterinarian; KayCee helps out; Marilyn is the receptionist. Ann is a nurse at the ER. Georgie “Liz” Anderson is the social worker who will assess how Molly and Cole are doing. Fred Larsen inspects animal rescue shelters. Pastor Mark leads the local church.

The Aspen Creek Clinic is…
…where Hannah works. Connie is the receptionist. Dr. Talbot is one of the doctors. The now-retired Dr. Martin was a weak man.

The Cover and Title

The cover is so warm and cozy…even if it is set outside in a snowy twilit front yard. It’s the kind of house you want to come home to with its multiple roofs, a bay window, and snow-covered evergreens with those bare trees in the back silhouetted against the lilac sky. The lights are on, welcoming you in, with Ethan and Hannah comfortably close, Cole going after Molly who has the puppy’s leash. The publisher’s name is at the top in a deep coral script, dancing across a yellow banner proclaiming the genre. The title and author’s name is below it, across the top of the house, in white.

The title is to the point, for it is An Aspen Creek Christmas with some great “gifts….

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