Review: Jane’s Gift by Karen Erickson




Title:  Jane’s Gift

Author: Karen Erickson

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

A devastating house fire cost Jane Clark nearly everything: her husband, her confidence, and her looks, with the physical scars marbling her body. Now, two years later, she’s living and healing back in her childhood hometown of Lone Pine Lake. The upcoming holidays are the perfect opportunity to bring some Christmas cheer into her young children’s lives, starting with a visit to the firehouse, where her brother’s best friend has offered to help quell their residual fears.

Lone Pine’s resident playboy, fire captain Christian Nelson is happy with his single-guy lifestyle. He’s an everyday local hero, so he’s never wanting for attention around the holidays. But when Jane Clark shows up, Chris is immediately drawn to the beautiful widow—even though kids and commitment have never been his style.

Despite her brother’s warnings about his friend’s playboy status and dangerous occupation, Jane can’t help but fall for the gorgeous fire captain. The holidays are a time of new beginnings, but can two scarred people find the strength to let go of their pasts to live in the present, when a lifetime together might be the sweetest gift of all?


Some books come out of nowhere, start quietly, and before you know it, you’re completely hooked by the characters.  Jane’s Gift was like that for me.  I had no expectations when I picked it up, other than I wanted a quick read with a holiday setting.  It’s all about the holidays now, and I wanted to latch onto a little Christmas spirit.  Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down, and I polished it off in almost one sitting.

Jane is recovering from a house fire that took her husband’s life and left her with horrible scars.  She is understandably terrified of fire now, as are her young children.  When she moves back to her small hometown, her brother suggests she take her kids to meet the fire chief to help ease their fear of fire.  I had a hard time getting into the story at first, because it seemed a little hokey.  But I kept turning pages, and before I realized what happened, I was completely invested in the characters.  It’s the protagonists that give Jane’s Gift a breath of life, and once I got to know them, I didn’t want to step away from their fears and hang ups.  Jane thinks it’s too soon to become emotionally involved with another man, and Chris has sworn off of serious relationships after watching the train wreck that was his parents’ marriage.  As time slowly passes, both Jane and Chris find themselves drawn to each other, and as they get to know each other better, they can’t help but care for each other.

To add a little conflict to their relationship, Jane’s daughter isn’t happy about having Chris around all the time, and she makes her unhappiness known.  Jane begins to question the wisdom of a relationship with Chris again, wondering if it’s a good idea to involve her children in Chris’ life.  He has such a dangerous job, and she wants to protect them from any more emotional disasters.  She is uneasy with the thought of Chris facing death every day, when she does her best to run as far away from risk as possible.  Jane’s emotional conflict was convincing, and when she does push him away, it’s understandable.  She doesn’t know if she’s strong enough to support him, and as the reader, I kept hoping she would somehow find the strength to be there for him.

Chris turned out to be a wonderful hero.  At first he pulled a few douche bag moves, but as he allowed himself to get to know Jane and her kids better, he allowed himself to care for them.  Suddenly their feelings and well being were more important than his own.  He realized how empty his life was, and how much he wanted to be part of Jane’s family.  He actually came around faster than Jane did, though he did have less to lose.  Jane’s whole focus was on her kids, and with her scars from the fire, she didn’t think she would ever find a man who could accept her as she was after the horrible accident.  It took her a while to trust Chris enough to believe that her scars didn’t mean anything to him.

Jane’s Gift is a wonderful holiday romance with likable characters and a convincing HEA.  I am looking forward to reading more by this author.

Grade:  B+, wavering on an A-

The BLI Holiday Reading Challenge