A Family Under the Christmas Tree By Terri Reed
Published By Howard Books October 4, 2016
Genres: Christian, Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
In this heartwarming tale set during the Christmas season, a single father and a fashion photographer are brought together by a young boy and a mischievous Bernese mountain dog—but first they must learn to set aside their differences if they are willing to let their relationship bloom.
David Murphy never knew much about kids. But when his brother dies unexpectedly, David is granted custody of his six-year-old nephew, Troy, who he’s only seen once a year since he was born. He already has his hands full running his business, and he has no idea how to help the grieving boy. When Troy runs off one day, David finds him at a park playing with an adorable and rambunctious Bernese mountain dog—who leads him to Sophie.
Sophie Griffith has spent her life traveling around the world as a photojournalist. She has never stayed in one place for long, and her new assignment—helping her grandmother for a few weeks—is just temporary. Once Christmas day comes, Sophie is off the hook and can leave for a new adventure. Caring for her grandmother is a piece of cake—but caring for her new Bernese mountain dog, Riggs, is a different story. It doesn’t help that Riggs strikes up a friendship with a lost little boy one day at the park—and leads her to David.
Neither David nor Sophie have time for romance. But as they spend more time together, they start falling for each other even though they know it can’t go anywhere. Sophie will be gone after Christmas, and the last thing David needs is another distraction as he tries to comfort Troy. But as their faith and growing love for the boy and dog unites them, they wonder whether it’s more than a holiday romance…and maybe Troy might finally get his Christmas wish for a family.
Terri Reed’s latest Christmas story is a JOY to read and really grabs readers with its heartwarming story that also takes a look at what really matters in a person’s life.
I have yet to read one of Terri Reed’s books that doesn’t hold my attention and make me sad to reach the end. This book was no exception and I can’t wait to share it with my friends and family. Ms. Reed begins her story with a really lovely character named Sophie Griffith who has come to share Christmas holidays with her grandmother, Louise, who is nursing a badly sprained ankle. Sophie has built a good name for herself in the world of photography and is looking forward to the new year and an athletic wear company’s exclusive shoot for which she’s hoping to win the bid. She is only in town for a few weeks and believes she cannot take time for romantic connections if she wants to be the best in her business. That belief will be challenged when she meets an adorable 5 year old named Troy and his very handsome uncle David. Ms. Reed’s co-main character David Murphy is a good opposite for Sophie and his reluctance to start a relationship with someone who is leaving soon becomes one of the main plots of this story. I loved that Ms. Reed made David real in that he didn’t have all the answers and made mistakes in his relationships with both his nephew Troy and Sophie. David was suddenly made guardian of his young nephew upon the accidental deaths of his brother and sister-in-law and he is still struggling six months later to be a single dad to a very active and somewhat angry 5 year old. David owns a multi-million dollar software and app company and has been working from home while Troy is out of school in an effort to complete a project that could help his company land a new account. Having grown up very poor, David has a hard time accepting help or assistance from others without making sure he pays them back fiscally or in favors immediately. Ms. Reed used Sophie to show David that accepting help is not a sign of inability or weakness but a chance to allow others to receive a blessing. I really like that Ms. Reed did not shy away from taking on the issue of broken families and resentment. Sophie’s rocky relationship with her parents and her desire to prove herself to them is what drives her need to keep looking for more and better photography assignments. And this will be the way in which Louise prays will to bring David and Sophie together – their mutual desire for a whole and loving family. I really enjoyed the “suspense” of whether or not David and Sophie would end up together – there were so many obstacles I just wasn’t sure how Ms. Reed would navigate around them. I literally cheered when I reached David and Sophie’s declaration of love and read of Troy’s true joy at his realization he was going to get his Christmas wish: A family for Christmas. I had such fun reading all the happy times these families had throughout the book and could almost taste all the wonderful treats they made together. I remember hay rides at my grandparents growing up and the fun my family always had going to pick out a tree for Christmas. And since it is the week before Thanksgiving, this book made me excited for the fun times with my family we always have throughout the holidays. I was almost sad when I got to the last page because I wanted to keep reading about this new family that was coming together – so I hope Ms. Reed will perhaps make this into a series. What a wonderful start to the holiday season this book brought. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Reed will bring out next – hopefully it will be another holiday romance. I will most certainly recommend this book to my friends and family and will hopefully be able to purchase a copy of this book for my shelves soon.
I received this E-book from Howard Books via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.