Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Can Connor show River a real family Christmas?
When Connor finds River on the roof of the campus admin building, he doesn’t know what to do. His friend is drunk, and shouting into a snowstorm, a bottle of vodka in his hand. The easy part is getting River down; the hard part is insisting River comes home with Connor for Christmas.
River doesn’t have a family, or any place outside of college that he calls home. Not that it matters to him; he’s happy being alone for Christmas in his budget motel, watching reruns of Elf. Only, Connor keeps telling wildly improbable stories of the perfect family celebrations at his parents’ ranch in Texas, and it’s wearing River down. He didn’t ask to be kidnapped. He didn’t want to fall in love with the entire Campbell-Hayes family. But he does.
From one Christmas to the next. This is Connor’s year to rescue River, and himself, for them both to mess things up, make things right, fall in lust and finally, for Connor to show the man he loves what being part of a family can mean.
I read Home for Christmas back when it was first released in 2018 and loved it then. It felt like a perfect holiday homecoming for a family and series I had come to love so. But as I have found so often lately, listening to audio vresions of books I read a while ago makes them fresh and vivid all over again so I was thrilled to see a audio release of Home For Christmas.
The narration by Sean Crisden is darn near perfect as he brings to life once more the story of a grown up Connor bringing a troubled friend River home to the ranch for Christmas. Itturns out to be a time of growth, revelations, and love. And of course, it feels like a huge family reunion as so many characters appear bubbling with familial love and holiday cheer and news. It definitely feels like family, one the reader has gotten to know intimately over a long series of stories. Now we add River into the fold, as well as a grown up Conner.
Overlaid between the relationship dynamics between River and Connor are the stabilizing one of Connor’s dads, Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes, the core couple at the heart of the Texas series. They continue that role here to my obvious love. Their deep love, respect, and yes lust for each otherstill propels this story and series forward. They are both its engine and heart.
At just over three hours, it’s a lovely way to grab a Holiday audio during this busy time. I love it and it brought this story back to me and made it new again. Yes, I definitely recommend it.
Cover art: Meredith Russell is sweet but I wish it had more of the ranch and Christmas.
Length: 3 hrs and 54 mins