Review: A Mother for Christmas


Decker Davenport is on a deadline. He has thirty days — Christmas Eve, to be exact — to remodel a St. Augustine Victorian house or the owner will put it back on the market. Not a good time for Decker’s decorator to take off on a honeymoon, leaving him with Annalise Owens, a stand-in with a malaise he isn’t privy to. 

But as he watches Annalise work miracles on the house and his daughter, he realizes the two of them have bonded in some ethereal way, as if they’ve always known each other.

As Christmas Eve approaches, Decker still sees the curious malaise in Annalise’s eyes. A haunting that even his kiss can’t take away. What secret does the new woman in his house possess? And will learning Annalise’s secret bring him and his daughter joy, or tear their world apart?


I found this story to be very charming and heartwarming. I did find some mechanical errors, but they didn’t ruin the story for me. Annalise Owens got a raw deal out of her former relationship with a wealthy mama’s boy. When she had a baby girl, the child had a heart problem and needed major surgery to live. She signed papers giving her boyfriend’s mother authority to put the child on her insurance so she can get the help she needs. At least that’s what she thought she signed. She had been tricked into giving custody of her child to the woman. Annalise showed up at the hospital to visit her child and found that the baby was gone. She had been given up for adoption.

She took the boyfriend’s mother to court multiple times, but since she had signed that paper she never got anywhere.

Annalise loves her job as a decorator, and it’s satisfying to her professionally, but she really bonds with her employer’s child. The little girl is eight years old and very precocious. Annalise is also attracted to the father, a widower who’s also attracted to her.

I guessed almost immediately where the story was going, but it was satisfying to see how the author got us there. If you’re looking for a feel good read this is a good choice.

About Elaine Cantrell

Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina. She has a Master’s Degree in Personnel Services from Clemson University and is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America. Her first novel A New Leaf was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest and was published in 2004 by Oak Tree Press. When she isn't writing you can find Elaine playing with her dog or maybe collecting more vintage Christmas ornaments
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7 Responses to Review: A Mother for Christmas

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    Sounds like a heart warming story, as you say.
    But — when I’m reading — if I can guess pretty much the way everything turns out, I tend to fall out of the story.


  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    This sounds like a formula for a Hallmark holiday movie – not bad, but predictable. And sometimes during the frazzled times around the holidays, a predictable happy ending is what we need. Thanks for sharing.


  3. Sometimes I like stories that are a little predictable. This sounds like a cute story.


  4. I have found some predictable stories to be enjoyable, for instance, I finally ran a famous Christmas movie and I saw it all coming, but I’m glad that I saw it. I can usually see things coming in just about every cozy mystery, but the characters, situations and turns-of-phrase can well make up for it. It sounds like a nice read.


    • Elaine Cantrell says:

      I did enjoy it. I guess if you think about it most romance novels are predictable. Except in rare cases you know you’re going to get a happy ending.


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