cover image The Christmas Room

The Christmas Room

Catherine Anderson. Berkley, $19 (432p) ISBN 978-0-399-58631-6

Anderson (the Mystic Creek series) strikes a vein of romance gold with this tender contemporary tale of two feuding Montana families, the McLendons and the Conachers. Crotchety rancher Sam Conacher refuses to let his 26-year-old daughter, Kirstin, consider any potential suitors. Embittered by the death of his wife, he’s determined not to let go of the last remaining person he loves. Reluctant to distress her father, Kirstin abides by the old man’s wishes even though it might cost her the love of her life, her neighbor Cam McLendon. But Cam refuses to be shut out, confronting Sam. Upshot: one bloody nose, one unrepentant father, one fuming daughter. There’s no bloodshed when Sam gets into fights with Cam’s widowed mother, Maddie, but those arguments are still explosive. Then a bull named Satan administers a harrowing reminder of human fragility, and a room bursting with Christmas love delivers peace and the promise of wedding bells. Readers seeking comfortable characters in a gently paced story will fall in love with Anderson’s tale of unexpected connections. Agent: Steve Axelrod, Axelrod Agency. (Sept.)