Book 92: Just for Christmas

TITLE: Just for Christmas
AUTHOR: Stella Bagwell
STARTED: November 30, 2006
FINISHED: December 2, 2006
PAGES: 251
GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTENCE: Hope Logan glanced at her wristwatch, then out the open door of the gift shop to the main waiting area of Maitland Maternity Clinic.

SUMMARY: [From] Hope Logan wanted only two things for Christmas—her husband, Drake, and the child he refused to give her. Drake had made it plain he had no desire to be a father...and it seemed his desire for Hope had disappeared as well.

Drake Logan didn't mind taking risks—but not with his wife. Their one shot at being parents had ended in disaster. He'd almost lost Hope then...and now it looked as if he was going to lose her anyway.

Then came Stevie....When Drake's young nephew arrived for the holidays, everything changed. Suddenly they seemed like a family—and they acted like it, too! Only, Stevie couldn't stay forever. And Hope and Drake had to decide if they loved each other enough to try again...or if their happiness would be Just for Christmas.

REASON FOR READING: The better to motor threw the Harlequins...

THOUGHTS: Compared to ALL of the Harlequins I've been reading lately, this one was surprisingly good. It had a dramatic realism that was missing from the other romances. Drake and Hope actually came across as, oh my goodness, real people. It was actually quite shocking. Their relationship had all the dynamics of any real-life couple in trouble. In this book, I was not so much intrigued by the whole "romance" and "plot" of the book. Instead, I was drawn to the connection that develops between two people who, while still deeply in love, are no longer sure they can work things out anymore.

Drake is a multi-layered character who loves Hope so much that he makes bad decisions. After Hope miscarried their child, he refused to have another baby because he was too afraid of losing Hope herself. In setting this standard, he begins to lose Hope by pushing her away. Drake still loves his wife, but he is so afraid of losing her that he does not notice that he's about to lose her anyway. On another level, Drake is so set in his belief that he will be a bad parent that he does not see that he has exactly what it takes to not repeat his parents' mistakes.

Hope is so determined to have a baby that she just pushes Drake away. The best part of this book is the way Drake and Hope interact because they refuse to compromise. It's this push a pull of wills that makes the book enjoyable.

The random drama surrounding the couple actually takes away from the book. I don't care about the abandoned baby, I don't care about the random hook-ups, I know this is all set-up for the rest of the series (which I would not avoid reading), but it detracts from the relationship at hand. I wish Bagwell had focused more on the struggles of the married couple. Drake and Hope were fascinating characters, everything else was just filler.

MISCELLANEOUS: Romance grab bags from the library are fun.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

CR: I'm stopping this little bit... because it's just plain annoying.
RN: See above. Boo to unnecessary shtuff!