Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review - - A Marine For Christmas

Diamond Dust Trilogy - Book 1
by Beth Andrews
Harlequin SuperRomance
Release Date: November 9, 2010

One of the things I admire most about this 2010 RITA winning author’s writing is her willingness to tackle difficult subjects head-on. From the first page of A Marine for Christmas, the characters are sucked into the turmoil of an emotional maelstrom and I went right along with them, never even considering turning back. Brady Sheppard has loved Liz Montgomery for half of his life but she ripped his heart to shreds by breaking their engagement in a Dear John letter sent to Afghanistan. The book opens as a drunken Brady, a shattered man both figuratively and literally, crashes Liz’s wedding to another man.

Twenty-six year old, JC Montgomery loves her older sister even though she’s spent most of her life trying, unsuccessfully, to measure up to her. Not only has Liz has always been prettier, slimmer, smarter and more successful, she’s always had Brady, the man JC has been in love with for as long as she can remember. When Brady threatens to ruin her sister’s wedding reception, JC convinces him to leave and drives him home, never intending to stay. But, when Brady kisses her, she throws caution to the wind and takes a moment out of time for herself…a moment that leaves her pregnant…and brokenhearted. Because Brady still loves Liz, wants nothing to do with JC or the baby and is headed straight for a lifetime spent at the bottom of a bottle.

See what I mean about tackling tough subjects? Brady is a broken man. His career dreams have been shattered right along with the shattered knee he received courtesy of roadside terrorists in Afghanistan, the love of his life dumped him for a doctor, the post-war guilt and flashbacks he suffers are just one symptom of the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) overtaking his life and the only comfort he can find is in a bottle. It’s going to take one very strong, very special woman to bring him safely out of the storm and back into the sunlight of a happy life.

Andrews doesn’t make things easy for her characters and, while Brady and JC have the happy ending they deserve, she doesn’t wrap up everything prettily with ribbons and bows. This is real life and relationships have suffered: JC and Liz, JC and her parents, Liz and her husband, Brady and his mother and brothers. All of these relationships face challenges because of the actions of the various characters and only with love, trust and time, will they begin to mend. As a reader, I appreciate that Andrews recognizes this and keeps her stories true to life. As this is the first book in a new trilogy, I have hopes that we will see the progression of these relationships throughout the series.

A Marine for Christmas is a new release. Next year it’s going to be one of those treasured friends I lovingly re-visit each Christmas. I have no doubt it will continue to be for many years to come. If you haven’t read Beth Andrews yet, I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of A Marine for Christmas. It’s a gift that should be on every romance reader’s list!



  1. Beth Andrews is, hands down, one of my absolute favorite authors. And A Marine For Christmas is one of my favorite stories she's written. Brady is such a powerful character, I fell in love.

    I'm so excited to read the rest of the stories in this series. I'll be holding my breath, waiting to see how they end!!

  2. Great review PJ

    I have this one on order and am waiting for the postman to deliver it. I have loved all of Beth's books and am really looking forward to this one

    have Fun

  3. Oh, this sounds like a heart wrenching story that will stay with you a long time. I will definitely get a copy ASAP!

    As the wife of a retired naval officer, I've seen what war can do to people (fortunately, not personally), and I'm glad that Beth handles such a difficult situation so well.

    Great review, PJ!

  4. Tawny said, Beth Andrews is, hands down, one of my absolute favorite authors.

    Me too, Tawny!

  5. It's a wonderful story, Helen. I won't be a bit surprised if we see Beth's name among the RITA finalists again next year!

  6. Oh, this sounds like a heart wrenching story that will stay with you a long time.

    It certainly has stayed with me, Gannon. Brady and JC are characters who captured my heart and their story is one not to be missed.

  7. PJ, if your review touched my heart (and it did) then I can't imagine what reading the whole book will do. Terrific review!

  8. Great review, PJ! I agree with Gannon in saying that this looks like a heart wrenching story.

  9. I love Beth Andrews books and the Super Romance line I just adore.
    After reading this review I know that I will certainly have to read A Marine For Christmas.

  10. Trisha, it is heart-wrenching, but so very, very good.

  11. I hope you enjoy the book, Gigi. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. PJ, I agree with you about the honesty and emotional punch of Beth Andrews's books. She's been an autobuy for me since I read the first one.

    A Marine for Christmas is on my TBR shelf. I'm buried in research tomes and drafts of more than a dozen articles right now, but come December 2, the day after deadline, this will be one of the first books I reach for.

  13. Great review, PJ!

    I have never read Beth Andrews, but my friend has, and she has also mentioned how BA tackles touch subject matters.

    A Marine for Christmas sounds like a great emotional read. When you mentioned PTSD, that automatically brought to mind Lisa Kleypas' Love in the Afternoon when she dealt with Christopher's PTSD after coming home from the Crimean War. LK dealt with the issue with great sensitivity and compassion.

  14. Janga, Beth's first book put her firmly on my auto-buy list too and each subsequent book has just reinforced that decision. Hope you enjoy A Marine for Christmas!

  15. Lisa, I agree with you about the PTSD in Love in the Afternoon. I thought Kleypas handled it beautifully.

  16. PJ, thank you so much for the wonderful review! I'm so glad you enjoyed Brady and JC's story. Brady was not an easy hero to write but I fell for him in a big way.

    I did try to show that the decisions made by the characters had real life consequences that weren't so easy to overcome. I hope readers can appreciate that while Brady and JC do earn their happily-ever-after, not everything is perfect. I like to think that they'll weather those imperfect times because they have each other. Guess that's why I write romance :-)

  17. Beth Andrews is, hands down, one of my absolute favorite authors.

    LOL - not that you're biased or anything, right? I couldn't have written this book w/o your help!

    Thanks - from one of your biggest fans *g*

    And speaking of which - I was in Borders last night and Tawny's latest, It Must've Been The Mistletoe, was out already! You all should definitely check it out :-)

  18. Another great review, PJ!

    Oh man, this REALLY sounds like a book I would love to read!! I'm going to have to get this one over the weekend!

  19. PJ, what a great review! Sounds like Beth will wrench my heart AGAIN with A Marine for Christmas. I can hardly wait, LOL!

  20. Thanks, Helen!

    Gannon, I hope I've done justice to the problems facing our servicemen and women. My FIL was a veteran of WWII and suffered from PTSD and I based one scene in the book on something my FIL went through.

    Thanks, Gigi! I'm a fan of Supers myself and we had good news recently - Supers are now going back to the longer stories!

    I really appreciate that, Janga! I hope you enjoy the story.

    Thank you all so much for your kind comments! And, PJ, thanks again for the wonderful review!!p

  21. Hmmm, I saw a review for this book not that long ago, or maybe someone mentioned it... I can't remember where though... Anyway, I wanted it then, and am so glad that I saw this today. I just scooted on over to Amazon and downloaded it! Thanks!

  22. I just checked her back list and have decided Beth Andrews is an author I'll have to read. I like stories that are realistic in dealing with life and its problems. An HEA is more meaningful if the road to it isn't an easy one.

  23. Buffie, I think you'd really like this one.

  24. Sounds like Beth will wrench my heart AGAIN with A Marine for Christmas.

    Most definitely, Anna, but you'll love it! :)

  25. Librarypat, I highly recommend all of Beth's books. As I said in my review, I very much admire her willingness to tackle the tough subjects head-on. Her books all have a happy ending between the hero and heroine but she doesn't sugarcoat the reality of their situations. She's an extremely talented writer!