I freely admit that although I was looking forward to this one. I really didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as the previous books about Jack and Riley…well, I was wrong. I love Connor and River and quickly came to realize that comparing them to Jack and Riley, which I think I was doing in my mind, was like comparing apples and oranges.
Connor’s been lucky, and he knows it. Growing up with the kind of warm, supportive and loving family that some can only dream of…others like his friend River.
River doesn’t have a family and once he’s done with college his one safety net will be gone but he’s convinced himself that he’ll be ok. It’s how his whole life has been, and he knows how to do this. But when Connor finds him drunk, alone and shouting on the roof of the campus admin building things are about to change. When Connor basically decides that River’s coming home with him for the holidays, every thing’s going to change for both of them.
Texas #9 is as always about the ‘Campbell-Hayes’ family but it’s the next generation of the ‘Campbell-Hayes’ clan. At 22 years of age Connor and his friend River are both finishing their studies and getting ready to go out into he world. River knows what he wants to do…he’s going to spend a year working as a volunteer in Kenya helping to assist with protecting their resources and assisting with fair distribution before returning to the states and settling into a job. Connor on the other hands has a life mapped out that he’s come to realize isn’t quite what he wants… he’s going to work at CH with his dad, Riley and his sister Hayley…now if he could just work up the courage to tell his dad’s that this isn’t what he wants for the rest of his life.
As River and Connor maneuver their way through the holidays with the loud, gregarious and loving Campbell-Hayes family. They also have to work their way through changing and growing emotions as their friendship becomes something more.
Just like with Riley and Jack, I really can’t decide who I liked better in this story I went back and forth between these two men for varying reasons. I loved Connor and his big generous heart and even though like River there were times that I probably would have wanted to punch him. I loved that Connor wasn’t the type to just give up and walk away. He was willing to get in River’s face with his worries and concerns and when River tried to walk away Connor followed, letting River know that he wasn’t alone and there was someone who really and truly cared. I loved River’s strength no matter what life threw at him he kept going, kept trying and working to have something better for himself.
People are so much more than the sum of their past and River truly personifies this…it’s not our past that defines us but where we go and how we get there that shows the world the measure of who we are. River was strong and resilient. He may not have always done the right thing, but he never gave up and he didn’t let himself be defined by a past that for him only held pain and disappointment.
My only niggle in this story was the ending there’s a bit of a time jump between the last chapter and the epilogue and between that time jump and the brief amount of time covered by the epilogue I was a tiny…and I do mean tiny bit disappointed. I would have liked a bit more about Connor and River’s life…not enough to bore me to tears or anything but just a little bit more than what was there and maybe that’s just me being greedy. I can own that. Despite this little niggle of mine, I truly loved this story and the feelz…so many wonderful feelz!!!
‘Home for Christmas’ is about two men with very different backgrounds coming together and realizing that the past may have helped shape them but it’s the present and the future that will define who they are and what they want and it’s about opening your heart, finding love and hope during the holidays it’s about how the family you make and the family you are given can become one to create the family you love and the one that loves you.
If you love R.J. Scott’s series ‘Texas’ than you won’t want to miss this one! Definitely recommended!
A copy of ‘Home for Christmas’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.