cover image Long, Tall Christmas

Long, Tall Christmas

Janet Dailey. Kensington/Zebra, $7.99 mass market (400p) ISBN 978-1-4201-3509-1

Dailey's standalone contemporary western never quite hits its stride. Kylie takes her children home to the small town of Branding Iron, Tex. She hopes to repair her life, but feels helpless without a man around. When a series of poor decisions threatens to ruin Christmas for her children, only former bad boy Shane can save her. Needing rescue isn't a new theme for romance, but Kylie's errors range from bafflingly careless (burning cookies) to entirely inexcusable (browbeating her children at every opportunity). Dailey (Santa in Montana) makes Kylie so inept that it imbalances the power dynamic with Shane, who does everything right: he gave up his life to take care of his dad, helps elderly neighbors, and immediately tames Kylie's rebellious son. The compressed time line of three days around Christmas leaves this chaste romance rushing to hit an abrupt happy ending that doesn't satisfy. (Oct.)