A Bayou Christmas
by Susan Sands
Louisiana - Book 3
Release Date: November 1, 2022
Reviewed by PJ
Thanks to a bone marrow donation from her newly discovered sister, interior designer Allison Miers has just beat cancer and has been welcomed into her new family, the Bertrands of Cypress Bayou. She’s been curious about her birth family for years, and it seems they’re all trying to make amends for her mother abandoning her—even offering a trust fund if she’ll stay a year and give the town a chance.
As Allison arrives in town amidst preparations for the Cypress Bayou Christmas Festival, she’s quickly overwhelmed by the drama and competition between both sides of her birth families. Local mechanic Nick Landry is the most normal person she’s met so far, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s also handsome and friendly. Just as Allison starts to wonder if she’s finally found a new home, family, and a man to love, she discovers that Nick—just like both sides of her family—has been keeping his own secrets.
Family is all Allison has ever wanted, but should she listen to her head or her heart this unforgettable Christmas?
Susan Sands returns to Cypress Bayou, Louisiana for the third book in what has been a thoroughly enjoyable series. Where the first two books combined romance with a healthy dose of mystery/suspense and explosive family secrets in fast-paced page turners, this one was more introspective and slower paced.
While Allison was introduced in book one, Home to Cypress Bayou, and made an appearance in book two, Secrets in Cypress Bayou, it isn't until A Bayou Christmas that we really get to know her. Her life has been turned upside down, she's trying to find her place within her newly-discovered family, and she isn't sure if Cypress Bayou is where she wants to make her home. She's thirty-five, an age when most of us have our lives figured out but because of her past she seems much younger, more vulnerable, and unsure of herself.
Allison's budding relationship with Nick is sweet and slow moving. I would have enjoyed more emotional depth there but I did like them together. Nick's a total sweetheart, even if he does come with an interfering momma who's not ready to let her baby boy go. Cheers to him for standing up to her!
The heavier emotional weight of the story is in Allison's relationships with her family members as well as her own personal growth. I enjoyed all the page time progressing Allison's relationship with half-sisters Leah and Carly and her surprising interactions with half-sister Elizabeth. I wouldn't mind a redemption story for Elizabeth, maybe a novella? She has some interesting layers. Allison's biological mother, Karen continues her claim to dysfunction queen but it's fun to watch the sisters unite to keep her in check.
As with the first two books, the culture, traditions, food, and flavor of Louisiana are on full display. Sands does a good job of immersing readers into this vibrant community.
This is a series where I strongly recommend reading the books in order. Click the titles to read my reviews of Home to Cypress Bayou and Secrets in Cypress Bayou.