If the Buchanan sisters can agree on one thing, it’s their love for Juniper Inn. Their childhood memories are filled with them baking cookies, playing in the snow, and having fun with their dear Aunt Sassy. So when each receives a letter from Sassy, asking them to spend one last Christmas with her, how can they say no? However, a lot has changed in the fifteen years since they last visited the inn—and not always for the better. Though their reunion stirs up old drama and new feelings, with family, love, and a hint of Christmas magic, each sister might just realize exactly what they need in their lives.
Some stories feel effortless. There’s no doubt author Sara Richardson worked incredibly hard to craft every sentence, yet Home for the Holidays feels like sitting down with a group of friend with a mug of hot chocolate for a chat. Her joyful descriptions of the shenanigans at the Juniper Inn blend with her heartfelt modeling of sisters in need of their family and a reset, making it easy to get lost in these pages. It feels effortless.
A lot of this success stems from the sisters themselves, three strong and unique characters who spearhead the action. Richardson has chosen to tell the story from each of their perspectives in alternating chapters, and it’s so much richer for it. Always organized and focused Dahlia, whose ex-husband has taken their children to Paris for the holidays, finds herself at a crossroads in life with no clear direction. Magnolia, who’s always been the most independent of the bunch, is struggling with her marriage after failed IVF treatments. And Rose, while usually ready with a creative solution, feels trapped in an engagement to a man with unreasonable expectations. Each is running through a low point in their life, and these early sections are especially heartbreaking because they’re such likable individuals.
Fortunately, the Juniper Inn serves as the perfect escape for each of them. Usually bustling with a hint of festive wonder in the air, it’s a little more rundown than the sisters remember. And yet, there’s a warmth that’s almost palpable on the page. Some of this stems from Aunt Sassy, a hilarious woman with a penchant for knowing just how to handle her girls. But Richardson really deserves the credit—she’s created a breathtaking backdrop that, as the books reaches its close, becomes hard to want to leave.
While not a heavy focus, there’s some romance in the air. Richardson carefully balances the broader family story with a couple of romantic suitors, one seemingly grumpy and the other seemingly perfect. Richardson has such a light touch with these scenes, and the feelings that blossom across the course of the book feel entirely natural while being a total joy to read. And really, how could anyone not want to fall in love in an enchantingly snowy Colorado setting?
Richardson has written a charming story that feels like a gift to read. Home for the Holidays is so perfectly packaged it should come with a bow on it.
Note: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.