Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Tour Review - - Simple Gifts

Simple Gifts
by Anna DeForest
High Country Marshals - Book 1
Publisher: Anna DeForest
Release Date: November 13, 2020
Reviewed by PJ

Christmas promises to be anything but merry for Robin Matthews who is waging a losing battle to keep her ranch and her family together. So when rugged ex-Marshal Nathaniel Hollister grudgingly agrees to help her run the Rocking M temporarily, he appears to be the answer to her prayers. But with Christmas fast approaching, Robin is going to need a miracle to keep from losing everything, including her heart to this kind but bitter man. 

Though his attraction to her is growing by the day, Nathaniel knows he is too world-weary for a decent young woman like Robin. Once the most infamous lawman in the West, he turned in his badge after a tragedy left him guilt stricken and disillusioned. And yet Nathaniel is about to discover that the magic of Christmas has a way of making the impossible possible... and turning wishes into simple gifts that can last a lifetime.

PJ's Thoughts:

This was my first novel by Anna DeForest. I love western romance and when combined with Christmas, it was enough for me to give this story a try. I was not disappointed. DeForest has a talent for bringing characters to life. I connected almost immediately with not only the two main characters but Robin's family as well. Each character was vividly portrayed, with layers, growth, and key contributions to the story. They all found a special place in my heart.

The story is compelling and well-paced with obstacles preventing a happy ending for Robin and Nathaniel that are realistic and well-founded. DeForest does a good job of exploring those obstacles as well as their personalities, histories, and present circumstances while also allowing for gradual evolution as individuals as well as a couple. The romance is a slow burn, giving Nathaniel and Robin time to form a friendship and, eventually, deeper feelings. But the bonds Nathaniel develops with Robin's siblings are important as well, not only to the overall story but to the growth of his character.

One of my favorite secondary characters, a retired school teacher, is a delight. She brings an added richness to the story with her wisdom, care, humor, and advice. She's a feisty one and I absolutely adored her. 

The villains of the story presented real danger. This is set in the Old West where times were tough and frequently deadly. I may have cheered at the outcome for a few unsavory characters but I also shed tears for an innocent victim. It speaks to DeForest's skill that she was able to elicit such deep emotions in me for these characters and the journey they traveled.

I've added Anna DeForest to my reading list and am looking forward to reading more of her western romances. 

*If you're interested in giving this book a try, it's currently on sale in Kindle format for only $0.99. 


  1. Oh, sounds like a good one - thanks!

  2. Thanks for the wonderful review! I will give it a try.

  3. Sounds good! I haven't read too many historical western romances, but the few I have read, I enjoyed. I will check this one out! Thanks for the review!

  4. Thanks for the review PJ!! This sounds like a really good read. I'm off to check it out.

  5. Thank you so much for the review. She is a new to me author and one I will be checking on. Westerns, both historical and contemporary, have been my current favorites. I am reading other subgenera but most of my reading tends to fall into this category. I will be giving this book a try.

  6. Dear PJ,

    Thank you so much for your wonderful, well-written review, and I'm so glad you enjoyed Nathaniel and Robin's story. I loved Mrs. Beacham, too! I hope you and yours stay safe and well this holiday season.

    Anna DeForest