Book Review-A Home For Christmas

Title: A Home For Christmas
Author: Deborah Grace Staley
Format: Electronic (Kindle)
Written: 2003
Published: 2003 print/ 2011 Electronic

This is not the review I intended to write this week.  The review I was planning on writing was for another book that I loved, but I cannot let this book go unremarked.   Be warned SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW

It, more than any other book I’ve read this year, has made a lasting impression.

A young female physician takes a visit to the small Tennessee town she remembers fondly.  Her mother is a socialite ashamed of Tennessee and its ways, but the doctor’s grandparents were the only real home she ever knew as a child.   The story is a heartwarming Holiday read about how she reconnects with the colourful small town and practices medicine in the old way.

Of course there’ s a romance, and the romance and feeling of love she gets are key to how the town of Angel Ridge becomes home to the doctor at last.

But then it happened.  The thing that left me wishing I’d never even heard of this novel, let alone spent time reading it.

The male love interest–a Pierce Brosnan handsome, down-to-earth construction worker–beats his brother nearly to death.   Because of the usual Romance Novel Misunderstandings this True Love man becomes so enraged that he calls the “love of his life” a whore and almost kills a man.   Of course they break up.  And of course he apologises, brings flowers and jewelry and swears it will never happen again.   The novel ends with their New Years Eve wedding.


This is supposed to be romantic.  Anyone who has known a classic abuser knows this story well.  Only we know it from the true beginning.  We know that after the wedding–three months, six months, two years–he will lose his temper again.  He will hit another person.  Maybe her.  Maybe their child.  Then he’ll apologise and bring flowers and swear he’ll never do it again.  Until he does.  Until she’s dead or fled to a shelter under an assumed name.

I’m so angry that this was passed off as an escapist romance, as an ideal love relationship.   Women don’t need to be led to believe that this pattern of cruelty is “love”.  They don’t need to think that Happily Ever After comes when he apologises the first time.  Because there is always a next time.  If you live with an abuser there is always a next time.

Amazon and GoodReads won’t let you give a book “zero stars”.  I’m really hoping that my fellow bloggers here won’t care when I give this book Zero Bookworms.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Sundays With The Bookworm « Just Another Pretty Farce
  2. Kat Heckenbach
    Dec 16, 2012 @ 21:30:05

    One of the best movie lines I ever heard went something like, “A man marries a women thinking she’ll never change, and a woman marries a man thinking she can change him.” I think that is part of this trend in books with abuser boyfriends (Twilight, 50 Shades).

    Or is it just an exaggerated case of loving the bad boy? I think a lot of women will take this as some sort of chivalry–“He’s willing to get violent and fight for me!” But there’s a huge difference between fighting to defend a woman’s honor and beating your brother nearly to death because you doubt her honor. (That’s what it sounds like he did according to your description.)

    Sad :(.


    • Katherine Coble
      Dec 16, 2012 @ 22:51:30

      That’s exactly what it was. Not a “he’ll fight for me!” but a clear cut “he has major rage issues”. They explained it by saying that his brother had stolen all of his other girlfriends because the brother was a cad. That doesn’t do it for me. Maybe all the women left him because they knew from experience that he was rage-y.

      I’m noticing not only a bad-boy trend a la 50 shades/twilight but also an anti-intellectual man trend in a lot of the romance novels of late. The men are all contractors and home remodelers. There are no doctors or lawyers or engineers. In fact, more often than not the intellectual/ college educated men are the villains.

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not going to college or being a person who works with his hands. But it’s weird to me how many of these novels of late have been very very ANTI those professions.


  3. Mandi M. Lynch, author
    Dec 17, 2012 @ 04:30:50

    There’s a difference between a bad boy and a piece of shit. You know, the “bad boys” of my childhood were people like Ryder Strong’s Character on Boy Meets World – leather jackets, didn’t care much for authority, etc. NOT abusive, self-absorbed, pieces of shit like we have now. Even Robert Pattinson is glad Twilight’s over because he hated it so much.


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