The Family Gathering is book 3 in the Sullivan’s Crossing series, where I loved book 1, but had some reservations about book 2 (quirky wanderer gave me pause). I’m feeling the love again for this installment.
Dakota needs time to decompress after serving his country, so he visits his sister and brother in Sullivan’s Crossing. Besides building a relationship with his siblings and their families, Dakota starts to build a life in town (he sees it as temporary but come on now).
I very much enjoyed Carr’s customary secondary plot lines that reference past books but don’t depend on them. I also liked that she focused so much on family — because Dakota’s family totally had some issues to resolve! And of course the romance…. well, it’s obvious Sid would be a tough nut to crack. Question is, is Dakota the guy to do it…
As for my favorite part of most books: I won’t tell the hows and whys and wherefores, but after some work, Dakota and his family experience some pretty nice happily ever afters.
Maggie’s a burned out neurosurgeon taking time off at her dad’s campground and shop. Cal is a grieving attorney trying to start a new life for himself. They meet in the worst of circumstances, but find they bring out the best in each other.
I have always enjoyed Carr’s ability to authentically and unobtrusively write siblings and parents into her novels. Though I read almost everything with a romance slant, I appreciate the relationship between Maggie and her dad. What a father-daughter love story there! Maggie’s mom offers an opportunity to laugh at those who take their children too seriously. Cal’s parents give us a glimpse of mental illness and its effects on family. I drank up every show of affection, each cookie baked, and all the times the children didn’t pass judgement.
This story is too substantial for me to call it “fluff,” but Carr writes with a straightforward, even keel that makes reading even the dramatic parts effortless on my part. I didn’t really like Cal’s character – dirty camper doesn’t do it for me – but he redeemed himself with his love for the Sullivans. I did like Sullivan’s Crossing and the occasional traipse to Denver. It’s a fun sounding area of the country I’ve never visited.
I love that this is a true “reader’s” book: each chapter is preceded by a quote just perfect for the scenes ahead. I ate it right up. That, and of course the ending: a happily ever after.
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A snowy Christmas romance! The Mountain Between Us is set in Colorado, in a tiny town where everyone leans on each other. The dynamics among the residents of Eureka remind me of those in Robyn Carr’s Virgin River — a focus on family, with woodsy, macho men who protect strong and emotional women.
Cindy Meyers gives us DJ and Olivia, a former couple who may or may not get back together; and Maggie and Jameso, a newish couple who have some real obstacles to overcome. Throw in a few spinsters, a con artist, a teenager and a local diner, and you have yourself a town.
I liked how Meyers gave the characters strength and integrity. They were likable and sweet. They held each other up during snowstorms and swindles. They lent each other an ear and a shoulder to cry on. I also liked the dual romance… and the inclusion of extended family. I felt like I could depend on these people. I trusted them.
The only thing that disappointed me about this book was the rambling writing. Some chapters took way too long to say what they needed to say. A good 10% of the verbiage should have been cut to tighten up the writing. Because of the long-windedness (especially in the first half), I found myself skipping over entire paragraphs, itching to get to the action! Nevertheless, the writing is excellent and the dialogue flowed naturally.
The Mountain Between Us is a warm Christmas romance, replete with snowstorms, love, and a strong sense of family. Read it beside your Christmas tree with a cup of hot cocoa, and you might even hear the jingle bells.