Come home to the heart of a frontier town.... Linda Lael Miller created magic in five novels set in Springwater, Montana -- and in the delightful characters whose lives and hearts entwine in each of her enchanting tales. Now, come back to Springwater for an unforgettable holiday -- and join in the tears and the smiles when a prodigal son returns to find love at long last. When Jack McLaughlin drifted into Springwater, he carried little more with him than his bitter memories of the Civil War and the shattering secret of a promise betrayed in the heat of battle. Wounded soul-deep, and fearing the wrath of his own parents, Jack has hidden his identity and come to Springwater to see his mother and father from afar, even if he can't bear to face them. Taking odd jobs and keeping a low profile, Jack finds a safe haven at the town's new rooming house. Olivia Darling had never done anything impulsive -- until she left the east and opened a boarding house in Springwater. But still an outsider at heart, and struggling to make a success of her business, Olivia finds herself turning to the other newcomer in town, the rough-hewn and embittered man she's taken in. As the Christmas season brings them together, Olivia finds in Jack's arms a passionate sweetness she never knew existed. And with the stunning revelation of Jack's true identity, all of Springwater witnesses a heartwarming reunion that will change their lives forever.
The latest in Linda Lael Miller's Springwater series, A Springwater Christmas introduces a boarding house spinster and a prodigal son to the mix of loveable characters in this frontier town.
Miss Olivia Darling seizes her first and last opportunity for adventure when she uses her inheritance from her late aunt to buy a boarding house. Her courage starts to falter, however, when all the customers steer straight for the rival McCafferys' hotel. When a tall, handsome stranger darkens her door, Olivia is instantly attracted to him. But Jack McLaughlin is determined to keep himself removed from Olivia and life in Springwater. Haunted by a dark past, Jack once failed those who loved him most. Now as he finds himself falling for Olivia, Jack must face the consequences of his past, or risk the dreams of his future.
Miller's warm characters and sleek, unaffected writing style neatly disguise what is not always the most profound plot. While Jack enjoys a complex internal debate, Olivia's progression from grumpy activist to drama club president feels hollow. But profundity is not the point here: the dialogue is realistic, the romance is solid, the sensuality is restrained, and the final result is sure to keep more than a few readers up past their bedtime. --Nancy R.E. O'Brien