Why I read it: I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley. Gifts of Honor releases on November 21.
What it’s about: (from Goodreads) I’ll be home for Christmas…
A batch of special Christmas cookies helps a wounded ex-Ranger remember the love of his life. A surprise phone call reunites a woman with the soldier who once broke her heart. There’s no place like home for the holidays, and there’s no better way to spend them than with the one you love.
Starting from Scratch
Christmas is the perfect time to start from scratch
Lieutenant Sully Jax saved his unit during an IED attack, but he couldn’t save his marriage. He can’t even remember it. Recovered from his injuries, he’s come home to the family and friends he knows—and an ex-wife who’s a stranger to him.
Lucy Crabtree was heartbroken last Christmas when Sully announced his plan to go on one last tour of duty, and devastated when he asked for a divorce after he awoke in the hospital with no memory of her. She’s finally moving on from her hurt and from losing the man she loved more than anything, and her cookie-baking business is taking off just in time for the holidays. But now Sully’s back, and she can’t deny she still loves him. But how can she trust her heart to someone who breaks it every time she sees him?
Sully might not remember Lucy, but something inside won’t let her go. With every bite of her cookies, he finds a new love for Lucy, and he soon realizes he wants to rebuild his life with her by his side.
Six months ago, being snowed in at Christmas with the amazing woman he met on R & R at Fort Riley would have been a dream come true, yet now, as a blizzard swirls outside Beth Tate’s house, Captain Chris Walker knows he shouldn’t be there. Blinded in combat and emotionally scarred, he never wanted Beth to know the man he’s become—but stranded by the storm, he had no one else to call.
Hurt and bewildered when Chris abruptly ended his faithful contact from Afghanistan, Beth tried to put him and their whirlwind romance out of her mind and prepared for a quiet holiday alone—until the phone rang. Now that he’s here, she’s more confused than ever, torn between love for the man she once knew and anger at the one who broke her heart.
A life with Beth was everything Chris wanted, but the wounds of battle are nothing compared to the agony of heartbreak. It will take more than mistletoe, but perhaps this holiday season Chris will find his way home.
What worked for me (and what didn’t):
Starting from Scratch by Stacy Gail
I do like second chance at love stories and I think they often work well in a novella, as I can more easily accept a HEA when the characters know each other already. Except… – well Lucy knows Sullivan but Sullivan can’t remember Lucy. After he woke up in hospital Stateside to a woman at his bedside he didn’t recognise and didn’t remember, Sullivan asked Lucy for a divorce, thinking to release her from a marriage of strangers. When the story begins, Sullivan has been released from hospital/rehabilitation and has returned home to Bitterthorn Texas, where Lucy works in a local bakery. Lucy has always and still loves Jax but she is crushed that he cannot remember her – in fact, it seems that she is the only one he doesn’t remember. The previous Christmas relations were very strained between them, as Sullivan had re-enlisted for another year without discussing it with his wife (which is a SHITTY thing to do). This Christmas, it’s even harder for Lucy because Sullivan is back home safe, but she’s lost the love of her life nonetheless. Even though Sullivan can’t remember Lucy, he is nevertheless drawn to her and he has an inexplicable craving for cookies.