A Springwater Christmas - Linda Lael Miller A Springwater Christmas will no doubt please fans of the "Springwater" series because it appears that every character (and all of their many kids) make an appearance here. I hadn't read the previous books and found these people to be nothing more than a huge distraction because they did nothing to enhance the love story. But I suppose if you're a fan you'll love seeing these people again.

The main story focuses on Olivia Darling, a grumpy spinster who spent her best years tending for an ailing aunt who thanked her by berating her and destroying her confidence. Now that the horrid aunt has finally croaked Olivia is free to live her life the way she chooses. Sure that her childbearing years are well behind her she has given up on her dreams of love and family and has instead purchased a boarding house in Springwater.

Olivia's first boarder is Jack McLaughlin, a secretive civil-war survivor looking for a quiet place to rest. These two lonely, wounded souls make an immediate connection but Jack's past haunts him and until he finds peace with himself he is unable to give his heart to Olivia.

Jack makes this often predictable book worth reading. He is a great hero who really leaps off the pages. If you have a soft spot for wounded heroes you'll probably like Jack too. Olivia, on the other hand, takes the "prickly" heroine to a whole new level and often behaves like a crabby granny rather than a thirty-two year old woman. Boo, hiss on her.

Although I wish the author had toned down the constant interruptions made by the secondary characters this was still a better than average romance because of Jack. I recommend it with caveats to readers on the lookout for a warm and sweetish Americana who can tolerate the prickly heroine better than me.