Are you ready for books about Christmas yet? Me neither, but I read Evergreen by Susan May Warren anyways. I thought a nice, romantic story about a couple of empty-nesters in love around the holidays would be a great book. Let's just say I was a little disappointed.
Ingrid and John Christianson have six grown children who have moved away from home. (Apparently there is a whole series about them, which I have not read.) John is excited to have his wife to himself again, and has saved enough extra money to take Ingrid on a trip to Europe over Christmas. When he tells her, however, Ingrid is angry and quickly informs him that she doesn't want to go to Europe. She instead wants John to use the money he saved to pay for a five thousand dollar surgery for the family dog. Then Ingrid agrees to allow her sixteen-year-old nephew, Romeo, to come and stay for a few months while his mom in is in court-ordered rehab. John is less than thrilled over this prospect, while Ingrid thinks she can love Romeo enough to "fix him." John and Ingrid very rarely communicate, and when they do, they do it badly. Ingrid seems to be constantly angry at John, and he doesn't know why.
Let me just cut to the chase and say that I disliked Ingrid's character from the very beginning. She was such a bitter woman towards her husband, and didn't want to be alone with him. She stamped out every effort he made to make peace with her and make her happy. When Ingrid had a miscarriage after giving birth to six healthy children, she nearly died. In his panic at the thought of losing his wife, John made the decision not to have any more children. Ingrid was angry at him for taking that chance away from her. She had let this bitterness grow inside her for over sixteen years! This baffled me. Maybe because I could never conceal feelings like that from my husband for more than a few days. I found her behavior to be irrational. And when she finally told John why she was angry, he took the blame! That baffled me even more.
I have read Susan May Warren's books before, and have liked them. She is usually able to throw in some humor that makes her books very enjoyable. While this story wasn't without it's humor--the fire at the living nativity comes to mind--the rest of the book really fell flat for me. Maybe I would have liked it better if I had read the rest of the series. Or maybe I would like it better if I was older and an empty-nester myself. Either way, I didn't really enjoy this one.
I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.