I picked up Christmas at Copper Mountain and read it last week, and while I did enjoy the book, there was also a lot wrong with it.
Let’s start with the good.
I liked the setting. The author clearly knew Montana – or at least somewhere north and snowy. The ranch and that whole world was painted beautifully.
I liked the characters.
Harley had depths. She had her own goals – to have a quiet Christmas away from her family, doing work she enjoyed with people who appreciated her. And to avoid her memories.
She’d lost her sort-of-ex-husband and three children in an accident that was probably caused by her husband’s stupidity. Which meant she didn’t necessarily want to deal with other people’s children due to the pain of the memories – which is totally fair. I liked that she managed to overcome that slowly.
I also liked Brock, who was the strong and silent type (though eventually he was less silent). He had his own past to deal with (his dead wife, his kids, the rest of his family) and overcome in order to be the man he could be. But ultimately his story was as much about growing into a proper father as growing into a proper lover.
The side characters were also good. Mack and Molly were both fun and realistic, and honestly reminded me a lot of my niece and nephew. I could see these kids – who’d grown up very self-sufficient – acting the way they did.
I also really liked the ranch hands. They were all great guys, and there were at least one or two who I think could easily be the leads in their own books. Frankly, I’m more interested in the ranch hands than in Brock’s siblings who we never meet.
On to my issues.
AKA the gaping plot holes.
Plot Hole 1: Did Brock seriously neglect to mention that his kids were coming home for Christmas when he was looking for a temporary housekeeper? That seems like something you TELL the temp agency! After all, taking care of two kids over Christmas is definitely not the same thing as taking care of ranch hands over Christmas.
If Brock neglected to mention that when writing the job description, he’s an idiot and an ass. But if he did mention it to the temp agency, they’re the ass. And frankly, telling Harley her future employment was compromised because she wasn’t informed of the full demands of the job is just plain wrong.
Plot Hole 2: I get that Brock’s cellphone has bad reception and he doesn’t use it much. But wouldn’t the ranch have a landline and probably an answering machine? How would he not know that his kids are missing from their school? If I were the school, I’d figure out a way to get in touch with him. Even if that meant calling the police of the town where the dad lived or calling more of the farm or whatever. Just something.
And the fact that it takes a full day for him to find out – when the kids literally show up – is crazy. And that there’s no conversation with the school later.
Plot Hole 3: It’s mentioned at one point that Molly’s been expelled from the school. And then it literally never gets mentioned again. Like…dude. Did the kids return to school? Did Brock finally admit them being home was better for them? This plot was brought up and then literally never resolved. In fact, we get no conversation with the school at all.
Also, not a plot hole, but if you’re going to show any sexy times, just show all the sex. Don’t stop with her boobs bared and that level of kissing. Either fade to black earlier or show it all.
Everything felt very…
It had the bones of a good story, but needed to be a longer book. And one that resolved the plot holes.
So even though I liked this, with the gaping plot holes, I can’t give it more than
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