What a well-written Christmas novella! I enjoyed this story even more than my last few Christmas reads, because the characters’ behaviors were consistent, the dialogue was realistic, and the tension was so real I felt my own shoulders tightening up. Alward impressed me with a tightly written plot and just the right balance of sweet versus strong. Most importantly, Evergreen Inn was Christmassy. The hot chocolate, tree ornaments, and snowstorms helped Todd heal Lainey’s broken heart, and certainly warmed mine.
Event-planner and entrepreneur Taylor takes a winter trip from Vancouver to Cadence Creek to plan her brother’s wedding – and spend Christmas with her family. During her take-charge week of wedding plans she meets rancher and business owner Rhys. Taylor and Rhys both feel chemistry, but they have more fun verbally sparring with each other. Though they keep hurting each other’s feelings through judgement and thoughtless wisecracks, something meaningful runs deep, something they both want to explore.
The dialogue in a Cadence creek Christmas was wonderful. Taylor and Rhys joked with and snapped at each other realistically… They reminded me of my husband and me when we are annoyed with each other but still feel the strong, deep undercurrent of love. I also found very natural Taylor’s worries, her chats with her family, and her willingness to help others in a pinch. Taylor’s a doer. She doesn’t sit around waiting for other people to do something. She just takes change and gets things done. I admire that in Taylor, and I like that Rhys saw through the bossiness and appreciated her hard work and efficiency, too.
Rhys was a little bit of a unique hero. He doesn’t rush in and save the day. He fulfills obligations quietly. He does a lot of things without explanation — which confuses Taylor! This reminds me of someone I know and love, so I really felt Taylor’s frustration and confusion. But Rhys is dependable and loyal and honest. And that’s just what Taylor needs.
The hand-holding, snow-falling, and cocoa sipping was all very romantic. The airport scene was a terrific surprise, and the last scene at the diner was perfection. Alward’s characters stayed true to themselves and because of that they felt real. And so did their love.