Christmas He Loved Her by Juliana Stone

November 6, 2013

I’ll admit - I haven’t heard of Juliana Stone until now. I was so excited for the upcoming holidays that I decided to look up Christmas books that Netgalley offered hoping I would be granted one of them to read. I read the summary of “Christmas He Loved Her” and immediately requested it as my fingers were crossed. This is the 2nd book in the series and even though I haven’t read the first one, you follow along just nicely. Much to my surprise, I was given the opportunity to review it and was thrilled! Juliana Stone’s writing really captures the emotions of the characters and she draws you into the story. I loved getting lost in this town with the characters and their emotions.

A little background on the story and its characters: Jake Edwards is a former Army Ranger and recently served in Iraq with his fraternal twin brother, Jesse. Jesse married Raine Delgotta who grew up with the boys in their hometown. Those three, along with 2 other boys, got into all kinds of trouble together in their youth.

When the story begins, you realize that Jesse was killed in action over in Iraq and Jake came back home brotherless. He avoided his hometown for a year and a half, a week before Thanksgiving he returns to his hometown of Crystal Lake. He knows he has a rough road ahead of him: seeing his brother’s widow (the only woman he has ever loved), his father who is ill, and his parents who are still dealing with his brother’s loss. He has built up fences around himself and his heart that he’s not ready to let down yet. Having him retell stories of what he’s been through, and uncover those secrets which have been buried, was something that I’m sure others could relate to. He was dealing with so much and trying to keep it together for himself and all his loved ones was hard in itself.

Raine Delgotto knows pain. It’s what she has suffered the last 18 months, and that’s why her life has been put on hold: the pain of losing her husband, pain of being abandoned by her friend, and the pain that she shares with others. Then Jake Edwards finally returns home and she begins to feel again, she begins to live again, and come out of her shell so-to-speak. Can Raine and Jake help one another by grieving over their former loved one, while coming to terms of how they really feel about one another?   

Christmas He Loved Her is a story about tragedy, loss, love and definitely worth reading. You will laugh, smile, and cry but in the end it’s all worth it. After reading this book, Juliana Stone is definitely on my list of favorite authors. I loved everything about this book! The characters were so real and relatable, and the emotion: so heartfelt and genuine. This was a perfect read for me, I couldn’t put it down. I absolutely loved it!


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