Review: Christmas Journey byPatricia Kiyono

Print Length: 142 pages
Publisher: EsKape Press (November 17, 2014)

From Helen DeGroot is a widow, a mother, and grandmother. Her quiet life in Zutphen includes her children, grandchildren, and church committee work. She can’t shake the feeling that life has something else in store for her. But finances are tight, and her grown sons always seem to need her help.

Mike Sikkema has a high-powered job at a travel magazine. He’s never had time for settling down with a family. But when his brother tells him about their mother’s health problems, he drops everything and heads to Zutphen, Michigan to help out. Apartments are scarce in the small town, so he rents a room from an attractive widow in his brother’s congregation.

The road to self-discovery and happiness can be long and painful. Can these two help each other navigate the journey?


My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I guess I'm going to be in the minority here, because this story - while good in its own right - just did not appeal to me on the same level that it seems to have appealed to others.

Now, don't get me wrong, there wasn't really anything bad per-say about this story, in fact it was actually very refreshing to read a romance that takes place between two grown people. And when I say grown, I mean Helen is a widowed mother of two grown men who have children of their own, and Mike (although never married), is the older brother, and the uncle to his brother's children. A much different change from the normal "twenty-something" romances that I have read as of late. In fact there were only a few things that I didn't like (and one or two of them might just be my own take and would not affect another reader's opinion of this story). 

To begin with, (and this I will admit is totally nitpicking), but it seemed as though everyone in the town ate pot roast. I kid you not, you read about three different families having the same meal over the course of the story. Which may not bother some, but it gave me flashbacks to other stories where everyone eats, wears and does the same thing day after day. Yes, there is mention of other meals being consumed, but the pot roast was prominently featured which to me was just plain creepy to me. 

Overlooking that, I found Helen's reaction to certain news regarding her son (which unfortunately I cannot go into detail about without giving away too many spoilers), to be completely unrealistic. To begin with, I find it hard to understand how she put up with certain things for as long as she did, but then when the truth came out, the way she basically just brushed it off like it didn't happen was too anti-climatic to be a realistic response. 

I did however really enjoy the romance between Mike and Helen as it unfolded, although I would have liked there to be more. More of the romance between them instead of the friendship (that we could all tell was turning to love), and definitely more about them after they became involved. It seemed to move a little too quickly for my tastes, and left me wanting more where they were involved. There were some moments to this story that were just too romantic to be overlooked (a tandem bike ride for instance), that added to the sweetness that was these two people finding love with one another. 

On another positive side, this is story #2 in the Life in Zutphen series, however it can be read as a completely stand alone novel. In fact, I was not aware that there was a book #1 until I went to post this review on Goodreads. 

Taking all of my thoughts into consideration, I do believe that fans of a short, sweet & clean romances will definitely enjoy this one! 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own. 

 Christmas Journey  is available from

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