Thursday, October 29, 2020

Review - - The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas

The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas
An Anthology
by Jodi Thomas, Sharla Lovelace, and Scarlett Dunn
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: October 27, 2020

In these Texas-set stories of romance and adventure, the Civil War is over, Christmas is coming—and it’s time for three rugged fighters to become lovers . . .

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jodi Thomas
Dispirited by war, when Trapper Hawkins accepts a job hauling five little rich girls to Dallas, all he cares about is the money. He doesn’t expect they’ll awaken his spirit—or that their intriguing nursemaid, Emery Adams, will awaken his heart. And when danger strikes as Christmas Eve nears, he definitely doesn’t expect Emery and the girls to risk their lives—for him . . .

PJ's Thoughts:

Father Goose, starring Cary Grant and Leslie Caron, is one of my all-time favorite movies and Jodi Thomas is one of my all-time favorite authors so I was already pre-disposed to view this Christmas novella in a positive light before I read word one. I wasn't far into it before I realized Trapper, Emery, and girls One through Five (you'll understand the reference after you read the story) were going to check all my happy reader boxes. The brilliance of Jodi Thomas shines through on every page of this story and through each character. I couldn't help but fall in love with Trapper, Emery, and all five of the girls during their perilous, endearing, and frequently humorous, journey across Texas. I loved that Thomas gave each of the girls a distinct personality and role in the story, rather than lumping them together as a group. I enjoyed the emotional bonding as each of them found a place for themselves in Trapper's heart and as Trapper and Emery, two loners beaten down by life, gradually fell in love. It was a pitch-perfect reading experience that left my heart bursting with joy. This story has become an instant classic in my holiday reading canon. I have no doubt I'll be revisiting these characters again and again. Also, Ms. Thomas, please note that if you're ever in the mood to write grown-up stories for the Chapman sisters, I will happily buy them all!  

A catastrophic storm, an ailing herd, and a failing cattle ranch have left Texas rancher Josie Bancroft in danger of losing everything her father worked for. Still, she’d rather die than merge with her neighbor rancher Benjamin Mason, the man who broke her heart years ago, on Christmas Eve. As old sparks fly and secrets are revealed, however, Ben is determined to help Josie—and prove that this time around can be different. That the misunderstandings of Christmas past need not define their future . . .

PJ's Thoughts:

Second chance romance is one of my favorite romance tropes. Unfortunately, this story also used one of my least favorite plot twists to tear the main couple apart five years earlier, a heartbreaking, angst-filled twist that played out on the page. I read the entire novella and tried really hard to overcome my aversion to the earlier events but I just couldn't. Perhaps if the story had been longer, with more time to develop the characters and their emotions post-reunion, I may have been able to buy into their HEA. There are probably many readers who will enjoy these characters and their journey. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me. I will say, however, that there was a four-year-old character who was an absolute charmer and the highlight of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed her. 

Yellow Fever has hit Clint Mitchum’s Texas hometown and taken his father and siblings, leaving Clint ever more cynical. Racing homeward to be by his mother’s side, Clint finds only a note from her, asking that he help her caregiver, a young woman named Amelia. Assuming his mother has passed, in his grief Clint ventures out to search for Amelia—and finds the best of gifts—just in time for Christmas . . .

PJ's Thoughts:

What a sweet, heartwarming story. This is the first time I've read Scarlett Dunn. It won't be the last. Dunn has put together an engaging cast of characters and skillfully developed each of them. Though there is a main couple, it truly felt like an ensemble cast with all of the characters having important roles and coming to life on the page. Clint has such a good heart. I really enjoyed his character. The relationship between him and Amelia is sweet and endearing, with a few unexpected twists along the way. The relationships Clint forms with the children in the story are heart-tugging and the Christmas "miracle" he pulls off had more than few tears flowing. 

If you're looking for an anthology that will make you laugh, make you cry, and fill you with the spirit of an Old West Christmas, I highly recommend The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas.


  1. I really enjoyed this anthology too, PJ! I agree that the second story was not my favorite also, with the way their history played out. On the whole, the collection did put me in more of a holiday mood!

    1. Glad to hear you enjoyed it too, Fedora. The first and third stories had me eager to decorate my Christmas tree and start singing carols! :)

  2. I love reading the comments and hope this anthology will bring some Christmas spirit during these crazy days!

  3. Thank you so much for your comments! I love Christmas, and I wanted to remind everyone during these trying times that we should not forget the magic.

  4. I just read this anthology yesterday! The stories tugged at my heart and made me giddy with joy. Jodi Thomas has always been a favorite author of mine and she did not disappoint at all! And I am always happy to discover new authors!

  5. I LOVE CHRISTMAS STORIES --- Thanks for this review and an introduction to just what I need right now.

    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

  6. OMG PJ! I thought the same thing about Father Goose. Love, love, love that movie! Thanks for the review!

  7. I learned a long time ago that anything Jodi Thomas is involved with is worth getting. I love her books and am looking forward to this anthology.I am sure it will be a keeper in my Christmas bookcase. Thank you so much for the review.