A Down Home Christmas

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

Title:  A Down home Christmas



Author: Liz Talley

  

Genre: Christmas, Hallmark



Rating: 3 stars



Publisher:  Hallmark Publishing



     A Down Home Christmas by Liz Talley is everything that makes Hallmark movies so good in book form.  In this one Country music singer Kris Trabeau finally goes home for Christmas but not to spend the holiday with his aunt, but to get her to move to Nashville. However his aunt and her neighbor Tory have other ideas. Can they convince Kris that Mississippi is home not Tennessee.

     This book is a Christmas Rom com in book format that lets you imagine what the characters look like. Complete with a loveable puppy. This book gave me all the Christmasy feels.  It’s a great book to read while you wait for the next Hallmark channel Christmas movie.



I received a copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
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Welcome to A Down Home Christmas by Liz Talley is the “real deal,” a Christmas story with all the elements to give the reader a warm Christmas glow. There’s decorating, Christmas tree shopping, Christmas cookie baking, lots of Christmas music and a Christmas show and auction to rise money for the children’s programs at the community center, It’s the perfect Christmas love story right off the Hallmark channel with a rock star and a local girl that fall in love and remember what Christmas is all about.
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I loved Liz Talley’s Superromances and I’m sad and sorry that category line is no more. I was glad to see Talley on my Netgalley shelf, however, and with one of my favourite settings, Christmas! I figure if Costco can set up its Christmas tree display next to the lurid Hallowe’en costumes, I can certainly read a Christmas romance in September …

A Down Home Christmas is a most christmasy of holiday romances, with Christmas cookie baking, the crooning of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, massive-tree buying and decorating, and a pageant. It’s also the story of rediscovering roots and finding one’s way when all feels lost. Though less quirky and sexy than Talley’s categories, A Down Home Christmas still had her signature humour and heart. Unlike her categories, however, Down Home is hero-centric and the rediscovering and finding one’s way belong squarely to the hero. The heroine is settled and sure and knows exactly what she wants. It’s Kris Trabeau’s journey we follow, as the country music star returns to his hometown of Charming, Mississippi, for the holiday season, ostensibly to visit his Aunt Tansy, the woman who took him in and brought him up when his parents were killed in an airplane crash. The opening scene is a hoot: as he arrives at his Aunt’s and his ancestral farm, he’s greeted by a great floppy dog, scampering chickens, and a barefoot beauty in pursuit.

It’s a delight of a meet-cute, but Talley’s romance is a light touch. The novel’s focus is Kris Trabeau’s journey to home and hearth after many years and successes away. Kris arrives with plans to convince his sole living relative, his aunt, to move to a seniors home in Nashville, where he lives. He wants to take care of her, to show her the same love she showed him. But Aunt Tansy is as feisty a bird as her chickens and she sets out, with the help of the barefoot beauty, high school science teacher, Tory Odom, and Charming’s denizens, to show Kris what matters in life: home, belonging, community, family, and love.

I liked Kris. He wasn’t hopped up on success, wasn’t greedy, or vain. He was a genuinely decent, caring person whose memories of Charming were warm but also fraught. He and his aunt quarreled over his leaving the family farm for a life of road trips and rootlessness. Kris’s career eventually took off, but he now arrives in Charming suffering from songster’s block. The words and music won’t come and Kris feels off-kilter. He doesn’t realize how much coming home, re-establishing connections, reconciling with his aunt, and getting to know a science-dork beauty will renew his faith in music and help the words and notes flow. Tory involves Kris in her after-school project, working with disadvantaged kids. She asks him to help a shy, talented girl find her voice to perform in the project’s Christmas variety show and auction fundraiser. Friends make their way to see Kris at Tansy’s farm, Kris rehearses with the children, bakes cookies with them and Tory, works around the farm, decorates a Christmas tree and renews himself in the balm of human connection, physical labour, and putting others before self.

A Down Home Christmas is romance-lite. While I believed in Kris’s journey, we didn’t see enough of Kris and Tory together. They talked, flirted, and walked beneath the stars, but Talley’s novel is mainly about Kris’s growth. Tory has a broken heart to recover from and she starts the novel as a Scrooge, but her story isn’t as developped and rich as Kris’s. Talley can still write a marvelous scene, however. The confrontation between Kris and Aunt Tansy was terrific. The character of the precociously musically talented Bria, who rehearses with Kris throughout, was beautifully drawn. Tory’s righteous anger at Kris’s dismissal of his ancestral farm as a place to be sold off was fiery and fun. I did yearn for the old romance Talley, but the romance world moves on and we have to accept an author’s new voice. I like the new Talley, but I’ll always miss the Super-romance one. With Miss Austen, we find “real comfort,” Emma, in A Down Home Christmas.

Liz Talley’s A Down Home Christmas is published by Hallmark Publishing. It was released on July 2nd and may be found at your preferred vendor. I received an e-ARC from Hallmark Publishing via Netgalley.
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Breaking from the majority of the previous Christmas offerings from Hallmark Publishing, A Down Home Christmas isn't a novelization of a Hallmark movie, but a stand-alone novel. Although, it's a solid story and wouldn't surprise me if it was turned into a movie this holiday season. 

While not as strong as Nancy Naigle's Christmas In Evergreen (my favorite Hallmark Christmas book), Liz Talley's A Down Home Christmas is a light-hearted romance between a rising country music star and a small-town science teacher. Adding into the mix are a lovable hound and a meddling aunt who doesn't mind helping the budding romance along. 

The storyline is a bit predictable, but I think that's a bit expected and honestly, that's what I enjoy about Hallmark's books and movies. You know you're in for a cute story without any big twists.
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It's a sweet holiday romance which shows the importance of family. The downside of this book is that it was a bit predictable.
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Such a sweet holiday love story. I loved it so much! Kris left home to pursue his dream as a musician. Upon returning home, he remembered what's most important in life.

Thank you NetGalley for this ARC.
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A fun, entertaining Christmas read filled with love and the importance of family. Be prepared to laugh within the first five minutes of reading. Hint: Chickens and sweaters. I love Christmas books that feel real and A Down Home Christmas gives you that feeling right from the first page. 

For fans of fruitcake, you will love the recipe for Jingle Bell Fruitcake Cookies included at the end.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Hallmark Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.
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Engaging, heartwarming holiday romance story. Intriguing delightful characters. Well written book. I liked reading this book. It is a pleasure to read this advanced reader's copy of this book, I am voluntarily reviewing it.
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This is a wonderful Hallmark Christmas story that will warm your heart and soul and bring you the festive season in July.  Sweet, loving, happy and joyful read.

Kris Trabeau heads to Charming, Mississippi to help his Aunt Tansy after her accident, he believes she should sale the family farm and move to Nashville, so he can return the favour and look after her now.  Kris' aunt took him in as a child and raised him herself.  His aunt has always been independent and feisty so he nows he has is job cut out to get her to go for his plan.

Tory Odom leads a busy life and more so at this time of year as she is working a the community centre of the production of " Tinsel Ball" as her normal job as a tutor and mentor to troubled young youths.  But you can add one more job to the list, to help her neighbour Tansy to convince her nephew to find the joy and wonder of this community and his family farm.

Tansy's plan might just bring her more than she ever planned it would do for her nephew and her favourite neighbour.

Grab this book and have it ready for the Christmas season as it will be here before we know it.  Enjoy!!
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Kris who has become a successful country singer has finally come home at Christmas time for the first time in many years. He has plans to try to talk his aunt into selling her beloved home and move to Nashville to be closer to him so he can care for her. She has no plans to do that but instead tries to remind him of what Christmas at home, in the house he grew up in with all the trimmings and traditions really mean. Tory who is a neighbor of his aunt's doesn't plan on celebrating this year because she's had a rough year romantically and it's just a bad memory of what she thought this Christmas would be like. He's had a writer's block while working on the second album, his agent is really pushing him toward making changes he doesn't want. When he agrees to help Tory with a fundraiser, he agent books him to do an interview on a late night show causing him to leave town and risk not making the program for the fundraiser. He begins to wonder if he really wants to go back to Nashville when he finds he has a hard time resisting Tory. This is such a fun story with great characters! A easy enjoyable read! I received an ARC from Netgalley.
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A great new story by Hallmark Publishers, a whimsical Christmas story set in rural Mississippi. Tory is a beautiful teacher whose neighbor has pet chickens who wear knitted sweaters! Her neighbor also has a handsome nephew, Kris, who is successful country singer. Kris has just come to visit before working on a new album and has been roped in to helping Tory plan a Christmas celebration for the town. Sweet story with great characters, romance, and a chicken named Loretta Lynn make this a great read to prepare for the holiday season.
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A delightful book., wonderful characters, great story line and a dog!
Kris, a new country music star, who has lost his muse; goes home to Charming Mississippi, for a final goodbye. Kris’ Aunt Tansy recreates a family Christmas that helps Kris find his way... all while helping becoming part of the community, making it more wonderful.
This would be a perfect Hallmark movie.
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A Down Home Christmas is a feel-good festive read with a cheery country vibe. A heartwarming love story enlaced with a deep message about community volunteer work and the education of foster children.

I really enjoyed reading about how rising star Kris Trabeau navigated the pits and falls of the music industry to find a good work-life balance. On a quest to find much-needed inspiration for his second album, Kris ends up back in Mississippi to convince his injured lonely aunt to sell the family home and move closer to him in a specialised facility in Nashville. Surely, nothing goes his way and while dealing with a demanding hot-shot career, Kris has to face an unwilling aunt and a new love interest with pretty neighbour Tory, a science teacher.

The budding relationship between Tory and Kris first comes across as an impossible love story between a celebrity and an ordinary small-town girl, but the way the author described Tory’s inner turmoil (her lack of confidence and insecurities due to a past heartbreak) was very subtle and sharp, giving the final happy end twist much credibility and authenticity.

I thought the writing style was pleasant and flowing, allowing the novel to unfold seamlessly. The stakes were interesting and genuine. The only flaw I found was the choice of visually similar names for two main characters: Tory and Tansy. I always prefer when the names are visually more identifiable for each character. Tory’s full name is Victoria (used once in the book by the character’s mother). It would have been a bit less confusing form the get-go to retain her full name everywhere.
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A Down Home Christmas by Liz Talley is a sweet, quick read of the age old story that opposites can attract and can bring out the best in each other. 

I enjoyed the characters of Kris and Tory and how by finding each other, they also found themselves and what they were really looking for all along.

The characters were believable and down-to earth and of course I enjoyed the Christmas theme.

4/5 stars

Thank you NetGalley and Hallmark Publishing for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.
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Down Home Christmas by Liz Talley is a great Christmas book.  It is about Country Music Star, Kris Trabeau, coming back from Nashville, to the small Mississippi town where he grew up. He has writer’s block with his song writing and is trying to find himself again.
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Very good, heartwarming book. I laughed and cried and cheered for everyone to have the Christmas that brought them joy. Kris is headed home to Mississippi with several issues snapping at his heels. First is his need to make amends with his Aunt Tansy, who raised him after his parents died when he was ten. They had a falling out when she didn't approve of his desire to go to Nashville and pursue a singing career. He's finally on the road to success, with a bestselling album and the title of Country Music Newcomer of the Year. He worries about his aunt, alone on the farm, especially since she recently broke her leg. He is determined to get her to sell the farm and move to a retirement community near Nashville. Second, he has been having problems trying to write some new songs. Nothing he has tried will make the words come, so as soon as he deals with Aunt Tansy, he's headed for some peace and quiet in Texas to try to get his mojo back. This is a problem because, third, he has a contract for a new album, and the record label has definite ideas of what they want. Unfortunately, those ideas don't mesh well with what Kris sees as his strengths.

The book started with a hilarious scene involving a sweater-wearing hen being chased by a large dog, who is being chased by a young woman. I loved the first encounter between Kris and Tory, who captivated him with her somewhat nerdy self. Tory is the head of the high school science department, a volunteer tutor at the local community center, and a woman who looks at life in a very practical way. She is also avoiding as much Christmas celebration as she can, as a recent breakup with her fiancé has killed her Christmas spirit.

Aunt Tansy is thrilled to have Kris home. She has missed him dreadfully and regrets the argument that they had. Though he only plans to stay a few days, she hopes to convince him to stay through Christmas. When she stumbles on his plan to move her off the farm, Tansy is first heartbroken, then angry. She can see that Kris has lost his connection to his roots and is determined to show him where he has gone wrong. Tansy is a pretty devious old lady, and I loved watching her efforts. When she notices the sparks between Kris and Tory, that gives her more ammunition to break through Kris's defenses. It was great fun to see her find ways to throw Kris and Tory together, while at the same time reminding Kris of the importance of family.

I liked Kris, in spite of his blindness when it came to Tansy. He has a good heart and hasn't let fame go to his head. I liked how he did the work around the house and farm himself instead of paying someone else to do it. I ached for him with the problems he had with his music as it left him feeling somewhat lost. He is so focused on getting to Texas for his self-imposed isolation that he has trouble seeing that what he needs is to remember where his love of music started. He is unexpectedly drawn to Tory, something he tries to resist because he isn't going to be there for long.

Tory is equally attracted to Kris but has her own reasons to resist. She knows he isn't going to stay around, so getting involved is not a good idea. She's still recovering from the end of her engagement, and a new relationship is not in her plans. Plus, why would a good-looking, talented guy like Kris be interested in a nerdy girl like her? It just wouldn't make sense. Besides, she has her hands full with the Christmas fundraiser for the community center.

I loved seeing Kris get more deeply involved with life in Charming every day. He keeps telling himself that he'll be gone in a few days, but can't stop himself from volunteering to help Tory. I especially enjoyed seeing him work with the girl Bria, whose home life is a mess. She has the most beautiful voice, but no confidence in herself. It was sweet to see how both Kris and Tansy worked with her to give her the confidence to perform at the show. There were a couple of exciting twists that had me on the edge of my seat as I waited to see how it was going to turn out.

The hardest thing was watching Kris try to force himself into the role he thinks he has to fill, even though he knows it's a bad fit. I disliked his manager and the way that he blew off Kris's concerns over the new album. I was especially disgusted at the way he ignored Kris's wishes for his return to Charming after his television interview. I was pleasantly surprised by the talk show host and his candid conversation with Kris after the interview. It made a big impression on Kris and got him thinking about what was really important. I loved Kris's meeting with the record label people the next day and seeing him finally stand up for himself. I held my breath, hoping that he would make it back in time.

It warmed my heart to see the changes that Kris experienced during his stay in Charming. I liked seeing his eyes opened to the importance of family and roots and having someplace to go when you're hurting. I loved his big moment at the end, especially showing Tory that not everything has to make sense, especially love.
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I absolutely loved A Down Home Christmas! Kris, Tory, Tansy and Bria come alive on the pages. From the sweater-wearing chickens to the Tory's loveable pup, from Kris's concerns about his Aunt Tansy to Bria's struggles, this story really touched my heart. I laughed. I cried. I highly recommend this book.

Thank you, NetGalley, for providing an ARC of A Down Home Christmas. This review is my honest opinion.
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A seriously heart-warming story that is exactly what fans of Hallmark movies want in a story. It has the perfect balance of sweetness, heartwarming moments, humor, and drama. Kris and Tory's relationship was so honest and organic that even though this story was substantial, I would have happily read more about them and Aunt Tansy and Bria and all of the people of Charming. 

I read this story when I was going through a really difficult time in my life. Even while I spent my days crying and worrying, this story gave me an escape into something happy and feel-good. 

I really hope this book is eventually made into a Hallmark movie someday.
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A Down Home Christmas by Liz Talley is the perfect book for those looking cold weather vibes to ward off summer heat; or a Christmas in July pick me up.  Or anyone just ready for Ornament Premiere at the local Hallmark store.  Talley perfectly captures the Christmas spirit and the value of coming home.  I can’t wait to read this one again when there is actually snow on the ground.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this novel.
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Spending Christmas in Charming, MS will bring you a feeling of home & community, plus some good music, too. And ooh...that tie-in Jingle Bell Fruitcake Cookies recipe looks yummy!
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