A MelanieM Review : The Christmas Oaks (Laurel Holidays #1) by V.L. Locey


Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Can the magic of Christmas, and the soft voice of a man who has seen too much, show Bryan a future where anything is possible?

Bryan Graham is shocked to find he’s inherited a hunting cabin in north-central Pennsylvania. From his grandfather of all people; a stubborn man who went out of his way to make Bryan’s childhood miserable. He’d vowed never to go back to the small, rural community of Kutter’s Summit, not that he didn’t have fond memories of the place. It’s just that he’d rather be celebrating a quiet Christmas back in Nashville with his cat and his contracts.

A couple of weeks of hunting, cleaning, and handyman work, and he can hopefully put the place up for sale and move on with his life. He never expected to find his childhood friend Parson Greer living in the cabin. Parson is no longer a boy, but a handsome, wary man consumed by the demons of a faraway desert war. When a rekindled friendship shifts into something deeper, Bryan finds himself lost in emotions that a workaholic like him has never made time to experience before.

Such a heartwarming story! The Christmas Oaks (Laurel Holidays #1) by V.L. Locey has all the elements you look for in a holiday story.  Family reconnecting, a  and a homecoming. A rediscovery and re evaluation that takes place, both of self, of a place, and even of his past.  It has two damaged men, each traumatized by their pasts who come together to heal and recover at Christmas and find love.

Locey, who lives in Pennsylvania, gives us a wonderful feel for the small town and local landscape, including wildlife.  It’s all done with a loving eye and vivid descriptions.  Nashville suffers by comparison which was probably purposeful. I thought both characters of Bryan Graham and Parson Greer well crafted and believable, from the dark circles under Bryan’s eyes and sallow skin from too little sleep and too much work to the PTSD that Parson’s suffered from.  Another fine portrait emerged in that of Bryan’s  overwhelmed sister, in her double wide and single parenthood.  Man, those scenes felt so true to life that your heart bleeds for her.

The romance comes about a little too easily given what each man is currently dealing with but Locey still makes a strong argument for their love and relationship.   This is Christmas after all, even with dealing with complexities and strong minded men with difficult pasts.  It’s a HFN but I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for this series.  This is such a wonderful start!  And a great addition to any Christmas or Holiday reading list.  I absolutely recommend it.

Cover Design: Designs By Sloan is lovely and works for both characters.

Book Details:

Published December 4th 2019
Edition Language English
Series Laurel Holidays #1

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