Review: Once Upon a Texas Christmas by Winnie Griggs


May Contain Spoilers

Somehow this is the first book by Winnie Griggs I have read. Not sure how I missed her books in the past, since I have been trying to read the Love Inspired Historicals as they are released every month. All the better for me; this is the tenth and final book in the Texas Grooms series, and now that I’ve discovered it, I will be checking out more of the series from the library.

Abigail is desperate to find meaningful work so she can live on her own. Her brother and his wife are expecting another baby, and the house is getting cramped. When she learns that the hotel manager position will be opening at the Rose Hotel, she is determined to try her best to be chosen for the job.

Seth is in Turnabout, Texas to oversee the renovations of the Rose Hotel. He is dismayed to learn that his employer has hired Abigail to decorate the hotel, and he’s aghast when he learns that she wants to be considered for the hotel manager position. In order to close a deal on a property back East, he has already promised the job to another, but to keep the peace, he keeps that tidbit of information to himself.

Of dear! I so disliked Seth at first that I was considering DNF’ing Once Upon a Texas Christmas. Abigail and her bubbly personality kept me turning the pages. She had me charmed by the end of Chapter Two. Seth was a bit more reluctant to give in to the inevitable. Instead, he had to find all kinds of reasons to keep Abigail, and her dreams, at arm’s length. She is his complete opposite, and after realizing that they worked well together, he softened his stance towards her. I thought he was an uptight prig who thought her a country bumpkin and gave her little credit for her intelligence. Compared to Seth, Abigail has skillz. Her ability to motivate and mentor the hotel employees put Seth to shame. So hah!

When Seth’s orphaned nephew, Jamie, is sent to live with him after his boarding school is forced to close, Seth doesn’t know what to do with the boy. He’s awkward in his presence, and since the two don’t know each other well, it’s a painful thing to see. Jamie just wants to be with his uncle and he longs to be part of a family again, but Seth, long separated from his sister and emotionally stunted from a childhood spent at a children’s home, doesn’t know how to invest the time or emotion into getting to know his nephew.

Once again, it’s Abigail to the rescue. Having been forced to attend boarding school herself, she knows all about wanting to be with family. She and Jamie form a bond, and Seth is unwittingly drawn into their relationship. With the patience and wisdom of a person far older than her years, Abigail shows Seth how to make a connection with Jamie, and how to put his business and his life into perspective.

I really enjoyed this one. It’s a heart-warming holiday story that will work any time of the year.

Grade: 4.25 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book:

Partners for the Holidays Abigail Fulton is determined to find independence in Turnabout, Texas–and becoming manager of the local hotel could be the solution. But first, she must work with Seth Reynolds to renovate the property by Christmas–and convince him she’s perfect for the job. If only he hadn’t already promised the position to someone else…Ever since his troubled childhood, Seth yearns to prove himself. And this hotel is his best chance. But what does someone like Abigail know about décor and furnishings? Yet the closer the holiday deadline gets, the more he appreciates her abilities and her kindness. His business ambitions require denying Abigail’s dearest wish, but can they put old dreams aside for a greater gift–love and family?