Review: The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak


The Heart of Christmas
by Brenda Novak
Series: Whiskey River Creek #7
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by Harlequin MIRA, 2014
E-book, purchased
384 pages
Grade: C+
Synopsis: Eve Harmon has always enjoyed Christmas, but this year it reminds her of everything she doesn’t have. Almost all her friends are married now, and that’s what Eve wants, too. Love. A husband and kids of her own. But the B and B she manages, and even Whiskey Creek, the small Gold Country town where she was born and raised, suddenly seem…confining. 

Eve’s worried that her future will simply be a reflection of her past. There’s no one in the area she could even imagine as a husband until a handsome stranger comes to town. Eve’s definitely attracted to him, and he seems to have the same reaction to her. But his darkly mysterious past could ruin Eve’s happily ever after just when it finally seems within reach. And just when she’s counting on the best Christmas of her life!

“Was there anyone in San Francisco to support you?”

“Support me how?” He acted as though the concept itself was foreign to him. She’d already guessed that he’d been alone for too long but this confirmed it.

“Come to visit you. Encouraged you during your recovery.”

A wry smile twisted his lips. “What a girlie thing to say.”


  • I like the friends portrayed in this book. It’s great to have a group of friends who watch out for each other.
  • The characters we find out more about in this book aren’t perfect. I like that even though they’ve found happiness with a significant other they still don’t “live perfectly ever after” which is sometimes the way people in romances are portrayed.
  • I could feel the chemistry between the two characters. I could understand the melancholy Eve might feel on her 35th birthday–unmarried and childless when most all of her friends have found love. However, for Eve to go to a bar and become so drunk she takes a stranger home with her seems reckless, dangerous and totally out-of-character.
  • I can understand how Brent acted the way he did in most circumstances.


  • I have some issues with the book. I’m surprised Brent aka Rex owns a security company. I don’t know if security companies have to be licensed in California, but he’s changed his identity several times. His fingerprints would show he’s an ex-con. He owns a gun and has used it before. Plus he doesn’t seem very smart about keeping his true identity a secret.
  • I don’t know that I believe the ending of the book would work.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I haven’t read the other books in this series, but didn’t have any problem understanding this book even though it’s the seventh in the series. It’s obvious that Eve’s friends are the focus of other books in the series, but that didn’t bother me or confuse me.
  • This book has some suspense, but I can’t really call it romantic suspense. To me it’s straight romance.
  • It’s the suspense portion of the book I had a problem with. I enjoyed the romance.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge (Hoping to read 100 books this year–As of  the beginning of November I’ve read 84 books!)