Cover Image: The Captain's Christmas Homecoming

The Captain's Christmas Homecoming

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Member Reviews

I loved this World War I Christmas novel. I haven' read many Christmas books set during War let alone World War I. This one was a fairly quick read that has me wanting to read more World War I books.
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When he went away to war and his fiancé jilted him for another man, one woman’s letters sustained him until he returned safe.  Getting to know the man through his letters was a surprise she wasn’t expecting, but then he wants to meet her.  I only had to read the blurb showing this started as a correspondence romance and became a post-WWI Holiday Romance before I eagerly took up the book and delved into its pages.

 

George Weston comes from a wealthy family who are a great part of the lumber empire in Albany, NY.  Now that the war is over, his father is ready to bring him on as a full partner in the family business and George has some definite ideas that don’t include a merger with another logging company forged through a marriage.  If he was going to marry anyone, it would be the woman who put her heart into the letters he received.

 

Emma felt guilt and responsibility that George Weston’s former fiancé, her cousin, eloped with a man that followed Emma from NYC to Albany so she used her sweet old lady neighbor’s name and started writing George while he was overseas.  Getting to know the man is a complication particularly when he returns.  Her cold aunt isn’t done trying to get the lucrative merger back on track and besides, Emma has no intentions of marrying so something would happen, like what happened to her parents to make her regret it.  If only George wasn’t such a handsome, good man and old Beverly works some holiday magic of her own.

 

The Captain’s Christmas Homecoming was my first book from this author, but it will not be my last.  I was bowled over by her attention to historical backdrop and setting of Post-WWI Albany, the lumber and logging business world, the snags that complicate the romance that come from both sides, and the engaging characters of George, Emma, and sweet Beverly Buttons.  It spanned the whole holiday season from before Thanksgiving and I enjoyed how this element was slipped in with the rest. 

 

I enjoyed seeing George figure out Emma’s secrets and thought her awkward moments of keeping him from guessing cute.  She meant well and as the reader gets to know her awful and strong Aunt Jill, Emma’s fears made perfect sense.  Her issue about not getting marriage was nonsensical and a way to protect her heart just as George’s thing about not wanting to marry was easy to see through, too.  I really liked this pair together from the first time she caused the punch to spill and the beautiful dancing moments happening after.  It read easily and quickly with a heartwarming, sweeter tone that I love in my holiday romances and a well-drawn historical backdrop that was a grand surprise.  Slip this one into your gift stocking, for sure.
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This book is based on an interesting problem - Emma used her elderly neighbor's name to write letters to George while he was at the front - but it quickly devolves into trite reasons for these two to stay apart when both protagonists make clear within the first 25% that they aren't interested in marriage...but not for any good reason. I might have kept reading if they were not looking for marriage, but the fact that this book was going to have this be a problem for these two who would ultimately turn around and marry because, hello, it's the early 19th century, put a bad taste in my mouth. Then, too, the fact that this problem was the focus almost more than the lie that Emma is keeping was a kind of weird choice. I was too annoyed to finish reading.
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3.5⭐️ A super sweet early 1900s military romance.

They had known each other for a while, but only through letters. When he comes home, he wants nothing more than to meet the woman that has kept a smile on his face. Meeting her isn’t what he expected though…

This was so cute! I adore that their story started with letters. SWOON. George is a man that knows what he wants and is willing to do whatever it takes to get it. (Why aren’t there men like this anymore?) 

Emma is honestly the sweetest and I was so rooting for her! I love that she’s a school teacher and fights for herself. Crazy turn of events at the end with a certain person but I loved that she owned up and apologized. Great read! 

*I received an ARC of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review with my honest opinion.*
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I loved this sweet holiday story set immediately after World War One. It was a nice change of scenery from the Regency and Victorian historicals more frequently published. The author did a terrific job of setting the scene, pulling me into a period I'm not as familiar with. I liked the attention to detail, such as the mentions of the pandemic and its effects, and little things, such as popular Christmas gifts of the time.

The story opens as George is about to arrive back in Albany after eighteen months of serving in the war. He feels very fortunate to have survived the war unscathed. He looks forward to finally meeting the woman whose letters meant so much to him and his fellow soldiers. His mind conjures up a young woman who could be the perfect wife for him, so imagine his dismay when the lady who meets his train is old enough to be his grandmother! But George is a kind and honorable man and treats Beverly Buttons with the utmost respect and gentlemanliness. He invites her and her young friend to the welcome home party his parents are giving him.

Unbeknownst to George, Beverly's friend Emma is the author of the letters he received. Emma is a relative newcomer to Albany and cousin to the woman George was engaged to at the start of the war. But Martha jilted George and eloped with a man who had come to Albany looking for Emma. Emma felt guilty about the broken engagement and started writing to George to make amends. She used a fake name so he wouldn't connect her with Martha. She never expected she would meet him.

I enjoyed watching the relationship develop between George and Emma. Though told that Beverly was his correspondent, it is Emma that he is drawn to. He makes his interest in her known, but as much as she would like to return it, her guilt keeps her pushing him away. Though he tries to abide by her wishes, Fate (and Beverly) keeps pushing them together. It doesn't take long for the little things to start adding up and for George to suspect that Emma was the one who wrote to him. I liked that they settled the truth early and didn't drag it on, though Emma left out her connection to Martha. That left them free to spend time together.

However, there is a fly in the ointment. Emma's Aunt Jill (Martha's mother) is a mean-spirited woman who actively despises Emma and her family. She constantly disparages Emma's father and denigrates their lifestyle. After her parents' deaths, Emma moved to Albany to escape New York City's poverty and start a new life. Jill continues her poor treatment of Emma, which comes to a head when she discovers that George and Emma are spending time together.

I loved George's immediate support and protectiveness of Emma. His solution to the issue was unorthodox but effective. There were some lovely scenes of them together. I especially enjoyed seeing George tell Emma about his plans for the family company and her appreciation of his efforts to help returning soldiers. The plans to help the city's children brought them even closer together. But Aunt Jill has another nasty trick up her sleeve, and this one nearly drives them apart. Thankfully, each realizes the depth of their feelings for the other which gives them the strength to fight for what they want. The scene in the train station was sweet and emotional. George's love and support for Emma remain evident in his calm but forceful interactions with Jill and Emma's boss. I loved the epilogue and catching up with them a few years later.

My only quibble with the story is that Aunt Jill got off far too easily for everything she did. I understood Emma's desire to put the past behind them, but she and her sister deserved better. Jill should have had to face some consequences for her actions.
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Lauri Robinson has been reviewed several times at AAR and received wildly divergent grades. The Captain’s Christmas Homecoming falls somewhere in the middle of our rankings.

Emma Leigh (Emily) Ellis has placed herself in a precarious position. After inadvertently introducing her engaged cousin Martha to the man she would elope with, Emma has felt a lot of guilt towards Captain George Weston, Martha’s jilted fiancé. Figuring the last thing George would want is pity from his erstwhile beloved’s cousin, Emma borrows her neighbor Beverly’s name, and writes him cheery letters of hometown happenings while he serves overseas in the First World War. The pair form a strong attachment through their missives but Emma knows it will cause huge trouble if she ever let their affection bleed into real life. She must maintain the lie that Beverly is writing the notes at all cost, and never meet the man she has fallen in love with through the mail.

November of 1918 finds George coming home from the war and anxious to meet Beverly Buttons, the woman whose letters made his tour of duty bearable. He is surprised and a little disappointed to discover that the name belongs to a sweet, elderly woman, but he rallies enough to thank her for her notes and invite her to his homecoming party that night. She reluctantly accepts, asking if she can bring her neighbor as a companion and George eagerly agrees. He had seen a young woman in the hallway of Beverly’s apartment building and is hopeful that is who the companion will turn out to be.

This being a romance, that young neighbor does of course turn out to be Emma, and naturally, George and Emma are as drawn to each other in person as they had been through their epistles. The chemistry between them during a dance they share has George asking Emma to dinner but she gently turns him down. Bewildered, he reluctantly agrees to let her go but then finds his life suddenly enmeshed with hers as their family, friends and fate all conspire to bring them together. Emma finds herself falling ever more deeply for this brave, handsome ex-soldier but the closer they grow, the more she fears their relationship won’t survive the secrets she’s been keeping.

The strength of this romance lies in its historicity. The author does a perfect job of capturing the era and naturally blends recipes, customs, and tiny aspects of daily life into her text. It would have been so easy to turn the financial struggles and relative poverty of the time into an angst fest but Ms. Robinson fantastically captures the little struggles of daily existence while showing how people worked through them and around them in much the same ways as do those struggling today. George is wealthy, but in a more down to earth manner than the typical Harlequin billionaire. There are chauffeurs and maids but he also works hard and puts in a decent number of hours growing the family business. I appreciated that it is a small(ish)-town company where he knows many of the workers and takes very seriously the responsibility of seeing they have good paying jobs.

Something else I really appreciated is that George and Emma fit well into their time. George is grateful to be home and recognizes how fortunate he is to have survived with all four limbs and good health. He carries no resentment over what happened with Martha and also carries no false pride to keep him from falling for her far poorer cousin. He is kind and decent, mindful that his role in society brings responsibilities with it and does his best to fulfill those duties. While I was reading, I couldn’t help thinking he was old-fashioned in the best sense of the word. He carries the morals and manners of that period in a natural, gentle way. He is righteous without being judgmental and is genuinely honorable and good.

Emma is a perfect foil for him. Like many women of her class, she works to make ends meet and is always conscious of her financial situation. She is also kind, thoughtful and genuinely invested in her friends and community. I appreciated that the elderly Beverly isn’t just a plot device to help Emma and George get together; Emma stays close to her throughout the story, including the epilogue. Emma is quietly strong and tends to avoid confrontation, which could easily have made her a doormat. I’ll admit there were moments where I grew frustrated with her seeming lack of backbone. That said, her quiet, gentle manner fits very well with how women were raised in that era and she does make a stand when she needs to.

These two just fit together naturally. Their love story isn’t a show of fireworks but reminded me instead of a good cup of cocoa. It’s sweet and warm and carries the kind of cheer and bonhomie that I look for in a Christmas romance.

I did have a few quibbles with the story, mostly concerning ye olde Harlequin tropes. Emma, her sister and her late mother and father are all beautifully depicted as working class folks who like to earn their way through life. That’s lovely, but in some moments in the text it is carried way too far and their disdain for money that rightfully belongs to them even if they didn’t acquire it through their own sweat and tears is frankly ludicrous. Money would have meant a lot to people who faced the struggles they faced while living in New York City and it just seemed silly to me that right until the end, they would treat a rightful legacy so cavalierly. I’ve seen this done in enough historicals to know the trope is meant to show the purity of the heroine’s heart but that doesn’t make it any less unrealistic or ridiculous. My other tropey quibble was the evil relative out for vengeance who is, of course, redeemable in spite of some truly despicable acts. I believe in redemption but not of the saccharine sort we get here.

The Captain’s Christmas Homecoming is a sugar-cookie of a book. It has a nostalgic, holiday feel that is just right for the season we are entering. This will work for readers looking for a down to earth, historically accurate story with characters who fit well into their time period.
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Lauri Robinson has been reviewed several times at AAR and received wildly divergent grades. The Captain’s Christmas Homecoming falls somewhere in the middle of our rankings.

Emma Leigh (Emily) Ellis has placed herself in a precarious position. After inadvertently introducing her engaged cousin Martha to the man she would elope with, Emma has felt a lot of guilt towards Captain George Weston, Martha’s jilted fiancé. Figuring the last thing George would want is pity from his erstwhile beloved’s cousin, Emma borrows her neighbor Beverly’s name, and writes him cheery letters of hometown happenings while he serves overseas in the First World War. The pair form a strong attachment through their missives but Emma knows it will cause huge trouble if she ever let their affection bleed into real life. She must maintain the lie that Beverly is writing the notes at all cost, and never meet the man she has fallen in love with through the mail.

November of 1918 finds George coming home from the war and anxious to meet Beverly Buttons, the woman whose letters made his tour of duty bearable. He is surprised and a little disappointed to discover that the name belongs to a sweet, elderly woman, but he rallies enough to thank her for her notes and invite her to his homecoming party that night. She reluctantly accepts, asking if she can bring her neighbor as a companion and George eagerly agrees. He had seen a young woman in the hallway of Beverly’s apartment building and is hopeful that is who the companion will turn out to be.

This being a romance, that young neighbor does of course turn out to be Emma, and naturally, George and Emma are as drawn to each other in person as they had been through their epistles. The chemistry between them during a dance they share has George asking Emma to dinner but she gently turns him down. Bewildered, he reluctantly agrees to let her go but then finds his life suddenly enmeshed with hers as their family, friends and fate all conspire to bring them together. Emma finds herself falling ever more deeply for this brave, handsome ex-soldier but the closer they grow, the more she fears their relationship won’t survive the secrets she’s been keeping.

The strength of this romance lies in its historicity. The author does a perfect job of capturing the era and naturally blends recipes, customs, and tiny aspects of daily life into her text. It would have been so easy to turn the financial struggles and relative poverty of the time into an angst fest but Ms. Robinson fantastically captures the little struggles of daily existence while showing how people worked through them and around them in much the same ways as do those struggling today. George is wealthy, but in a more down to earth manner than the typical Harlequin billionaire. There are chauffeurs and maids but he also works hard and puts in a decent number of hours growing the family business. I appreciated that it is a small(ish)-town company where he knows many of the workers and takes very seriously the responsibility of seeing they have good paying jobs.

Something else I really appreciated is that George and Emma fit well into their time. George is grateful to be home and recognizes how fortunate he is to have survived with all four limbs and good health. He carries no resentment over what happened with Martha and also carries no false pride to keep him from falling for her far poorer cousin. He is kind and decent, mindful that his role in society brings responsibilities with it and does his best to fulfill those duties. While I was reading, I couldn’t help thinking he was old-fashioned in the best sense of the word. He carries the morals and manners of that period in a natural, gentle way. He is righteous without being judgmental and is genuinely honorable and good.

Emma is a perfect foil for him. Like many women of her class, she works to make ends meet and is always conscious of her financial situation. She is also kind, thoughtful and genuinely invested in her friends and community. I appreciated that the elderly Beverly isn’t just a plot device to help Emma and George get together; Emma stays close to her throughout the story, including the epilogue. Emma is quietly strong and tends to avoid confrontation, which could easily have made her a doormat. I’ll admit there were moments where I grew frustrated with her seeming lack of backbone. That said, her quiet, gentle manner fits very well with how women were raised in that era and she does make a stand when she needs to.

These two just fit together naturally. Their love story isn’t a show of fireworks but reminded me instead of a good cup of cocoa. It’s sweet and warm and carries the kind of cheer and bonhomie that I look for in a Christmas romance.

I did have a few quibbles with the story, mostly concerning ye olde Harlequin tropes. Emma, her sister and her late mother and father are all beautifully depicted as working class folks who like to earn their way through life. That’s lovely, but in some moments in the text it is carried way too far and their disdain for money that rightfully belongs to them even if they didn’t acquire it through their own sweat and tears is frankly ludicrous. Money would have meant a lot to people who faced the struggles they faced while living in New York City and it just seemed silly to me that right until the end, they would treat a rightful legacy so cavalierly. I’ve seen this done in enough historicals to know the trope is meant to show the purity of the heroine’s heart but that doesn’t make it any less unrealistic or ridiculous. My other tropey quibble was the evil relative out for vengeance who is, of course, redeemable in spite of some truly despicable acts. I believe in redemption but not of the saccharine sort we get here.

The Captain’s Christmas Homecoming is a sugar-cookie of a book. It has a nostalgic, holiday feel that is just right for the season we are entering. This will work for readers looking for a down to earth, historically accurate story with characters who fit well into their time period.

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This was a fairly quick read, but didn't engage me as much as I'd hoped. I love sampling historical romances that aren't set in the regency, since that seems to be the default settings for so many historical romances, but this particular book didn't quite hit the mark for me. The main characters' reasons for not wanting to get involved with each other seemed flimsy and contrived - there weren't any real obstacles to them getting together. It was still a sweet story, but pretty basic.
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This was a cute, quick read about two people who found comfort in writing to each other while George was away serving in the war. At first, Emma doesn't want him to know it was her due to her being the cousin of George's former fiance. In fact, she even went so far as to not only sign her neighbor's name to the missives, but she had the woman meet George at the train station upon his arrival to keep up the ruse. Beverly (the neighbor) is an absolutely delightful character who strikes up an easy friendship with George and his family while also being able to introduce them to Emma. Thankfully, the truth eventually comes out. However, Emma is still reluctant to entertain the idea of even a friendship with George despite her growing feelings for him because of her aunt. 

Speaking of  Emma's horrid Aunt Jill, the one major complaint I have with this story has to do with her and what I felt was the total lack of resolution where she was concerned. Throughout the book, we hear about how Emma is overcome with fear of running into the woman because of the vile things she said when Emma was a child. Eventually, they do run into each other, with Jill screaming the vilest things at and about Emma. She also manages to cause problems for Emma at work, but not before George finds out that when Jill's father died, she kept his will hidden and therefore did not evenly divide his assets amongst herself and her sister (something that surely would have helped Emma's family when she was growing up). No, she kept the family fortunes for herself, and in the end, Emma just... forgives her? She doesn't choose to pursue the will to get what is rightfully hers? Fast forward to the epilogue, which takes place four years later, and apparently, Jill and Emma have managed to put the past behind them somehow? After everything, I felt that Jill should have gotten what was coming to her instead of the entire thing just being dropped. 

However, the relationship between George and Emma, especially after they entered into a fake engagement, was something that I thoroughly enjoyed. You could definitely sense the chemistry and attraction between them, even if there were times when I wanted to smack them both and tell them to just tell the other the truth of what they were feeling. I also enjoyed the author's attention to detail and how she made the backdrop of this story (Albany, NY) come to life. 

Overall, I do believe this book will appeal to those who enjoy a clean, and well-written romance novel with interesting characters. I would read more from this author. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.
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*Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for sending me this ARC in exchange for a review!*

What a charming story!

I love, love LOVE when two characters fall in love through letters. 

I typically get annoyed with the miscommunication trope, but I think that it was resolved quickly and in a believable way.

I thought the characters were wonderful. I particularly loved Beverly! I wish I would drink coffee and eat ginger bars with her!

Definitely put this one on your holiday TBR!
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Feeling guilty about his broken engagement, Emma starts writing to Captain George Weston under her neighbor's name. When they finally meet, he doesn't know that she is the letter writer, but sparks stilly fly between them.

It's a little early in the year for Christmas romances, but that's the nature of reading ARCs I suppose. Besides, this one wasn't terribly about the Christmas spirit, but more about family.

This was a quick, cute read about a pair of people who are afraid of being wed for various reasons. Emma is a rather neurotic heroine, but George balances her well with his level head and protective nature. I loved how George's family embraced Emma and helped her bloom. I also adored the character of Beverly Button, who was a lot of fun.

However, I found myself losing patience with Emma at times. I definitely understood why she felt so unable to stand up to her aunt, but it got tiring watching her be browbeaten, especially considering the really awful things Jill does and says. Though Emma does eventually stand up for herself, I did feel like it took too long. And considering how much the reader is led to hate Jill, I didn't love how her character is ultimately dealt with - sometimes family members are just toxic and not worth the trouble.
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A very charming romance that gives the reader all the warm "feels" and delights and comforts the heart - it is perfect for a Christmas read when its snowing outside and one is curled up with a book and a hot chocolate. I have never read anything by this author before, but I will search out anything else she has written. Recommended.
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The Captain's Christmas Homecoming.. was do good it started with the letters.   Emma was writing to Captain George Weston..  so much goes on that I font want to give anything away. I loved these two characters 
Lauri Robinson has them come to life with her words the way it just flows 5 star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟when it comes out I'm doing the one click..


I was provided an arc e-copy by the publisher Harlequin for honest review.  thank you so much for sending me a copy. 

Happy Reading Lisa 📚
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