Review ~ The Christmas He Loved Her by Juliana Stone

TheChristmasHeLovedHerBook: The Christmas He Loved Her

Series: Bad Boys of Crystal Lake #2

Author: Juliana Stone

Format: e-book

Page Count: 353

Published: Sourcebooks, October 1st, 2013

Source: Publisher


The emotional in this book was off the charts. I swear towards the middle of the book, where all the necessary stuff that needed to be out in the open was being let out in the open, I read it all with a lump in my throat. I admit, I’m a bit of a crybaby. Give me anything even remotely dramatic and watch the waterworks. And considering this book had twin brothers who were close and who also loved the same woman, with only one of them surviving the beginning of the series, I’m sure you can understand me doing the reading with a clarity in my eyes that only unshed tears can provide.

Jake Edwards has left the small town of Crystal Lake after his brother’s funeral a year ago. He lives in a dark place along with his grief over his brother’s death, his own nightmares from his days in Afghanistan where he served with, and lost his brother, and his guilt over loving his sister-in-law. He finally decides to come back to his hometown and piece his life back together as best he can. And the biggest piece of all? Raine, his brother’s widow, the only woman he ever loved.

The pain these characters felt, the depression and the dark they fell into, the guilt they felt over falling for each other, and generally being the survivor, it was all coming off the pages. I felt everything along with them and that’s good storytelling. I guess I should’ve seen this coming since the first book grabbed me pretty much the same way, but man, this was much more intense. It’s already a delicate issue, having the hero falling for his dead brother’s widow, but to make it this real and this good sure is a talent. I rooted for these two, I wanted them to be happy, but not just any happy, I wanted them to be happy together, because it was the right way. The only way, actually. The author made me realize that.

It broke my heart to know their backstory, not because it was tragic, but because they could’ve easily had a happy ending, but then of course this book wouldn’t have existed. It reminded me of the movie Sliding Doors though, with Gwyneth Paltrow, of how they could’ve easily avoided all this turbulence if only Jesse, Jake’s twin, hadn’t loved Raine and she hadn’t loved him back. Sounds silly, I know, maybe doesn’t even make sense now, but it was that easy. But I’m still glad for the way things worked out simply because this way I got to read their book.

I loved the flashbacks in this story. There had to be flashbacks, because they were the only way for us to understand the relationship between Jake and Raine, and Jake and Jesse. And we got to know Jesse a little bit better. He was the phantom fourth hero of this series. There, but not there. He doesn’t live, and he doesn’t have his own book, but he’s in all the books. It was bittersweet and I liked that. Trips down memory lane were bittersweet and I liked those too.

A wonderful book that was not just about the happily ever after or the sexy-and there was sexy- but also about family and friendship, and though they may seem unimportant, about little things and second chances.

For such a lovely story only five spoonfuls is not enough to add taste to my hodgepodge with, so let’s just say the official measurement is five, but in reality I’ll be adding an extra spoonful!


Bad Boys of Crystal Lake series by Juliana Stone:

  1. The Summer He Came Home
  2. The Christmas He Loved Her
  3. The Day He Kissed Her

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