Here's what the reviewers
are saying about
Vermont Valentine
Book #3 of Holiday Hearts

Silhouette Special Edition
February 2006


Romance Reviews Today
Romance Junkies
RT Bookclub (4 ½ stars)

Romance Reviews Today
"Vermont Valentine is a heartwarming tale of winning against the odds."
The eldest of the Trask brothers, Jacob is the one who stayed on the family farm helping to harvest maple tree syrup and to comfort their mother on a daily basis after their father passed away last spring. Now he's getting ready for his first harvest on his own, and he's working hard. Unfortunately one day, a lovely research technician named Celie Favreau arrives in the area -- and promptly informs Jacob his trees have the dreaded maple borer, which could destroy his livelihood.

Celie has led a nomadic life the past several years. Her mission is to eradicate the maple borer insect, but her method of coming in and ordering tree stands cut down has made enemies. What many don't understand is that she is keeping tabs on an alternative method. The day she meets Jacob while inspecting one of his trees is bittersweet. She's attracted to the quiet, but hunky Jacob, but she is the bearer of bad news -- his trees show signs of the maple borer.

Readers have met each of the Trask brothers in the previous Holiday Hearts stories, Where There's Smoke and Under The Mistletoe. Now it's reclusive Jacob who gets his tale told. He was previously depicted as gruff and with bushy facial hair, but he has a makeover, although the gruffness is still there. He emerges from his cocoon to woo a lady who should be his adversary.

Faced with the coming maple sugar harvest, Jacob feels adrift. Still reeling from the death of his father, he now has to make decisions in running the farm. He's been content in the past to live hermit-like, but now he's out front as head of the family. When Celie shows up on his land, he's intrigued by her, but once he realizes why she is here -- and the bad news she has -- he wonders if he dare have a relationship with her. As Jacob and Celie talk and get to know each other, the sparks fly between them. What happens when her job is over and she moves on?

Celie grew up in Montreal within a family also bound by tradition, so she understands Jacob's need for carrying on the family business. Without really trying, she draws him out of his shell and discovers their objectives are similar. Hardworking and never one to let a challenge slow her down, Celie nonetheless must work hard at doing what needs to be done, but will she end up destroying Jacob's livelihood? Will her attraction for Jacob get in the way of what must be done?

With in-depth depiction of life on a maple sugar farm in picturesque Vermont, Kristin Hardy will draw you in with her wonderful storytelling of two people who are both bound by tradition and who must learn to face the future. You will find yourself cheering for each to succeed; you don't want to see the trees come down, but the treacherous insect must be beaten! Vermont Valentine is a heartwarming tale of winning against the odds. Not only in the fight against the maple borer, but of Jacob and Celie's battle against an attraction they feel has no future.

Strong emotions and crisp dialogue highlight Vermont Valentine, and Kristin Hardy will leave you wanting more tales told from the beautiful Vermont area. Are there any more Trask men who need stories told? With Ms. Hardy's lush storytelling, Vermont Valentine is a romantic tale with realistic characters and emotional scenes. You won't want to miss this riveting story.


Romance Junkies
This fine novel is not just about fabulous characters, but also about a heart-warming and sensuous story.
Celie Favreau works for APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) and is the head of the program set in place to eradicate the scarlet-horned maple borer, or better known as the worst enemy of the sugar maples. She has always been the happiest when she is out in the forest among natures finest, which is one of the reasons this spunky French Canadian decided on this career. Being the head of the program means she is the one who decides which trees come down, and has to be the one to break the news to sugar makers that selected trees or even their entire sugarbushes might have to be eliminated. It’s the only way to completely eradicate the maple borer. Some understand but all hate it, no one more than her. That is why she helped create an insecticide called Beetlejuice, which will kill the borer without harming the tree. The problem is that it is not yet approved in the US. So in the meantime the trees come down, and people’s hostilities towards her go up. Except for one, Jacob Trask.

Jacob Trask has a reputation around the county of not being the friendliest guy you would ever meet, sure he would lend help wherever needed, but stop on main street for a little conversation? Nope not Jacob. This large intimidating man is more at home in his forest than around folks. Until he comes across a delightful pixie of a woman, he catches snooping among his tress. He has a really bad feeling about what she is up to, but getting to know this delightful, bubbly woman is sparking his interest like never before.

As Celie races against time to save as many trees as she can, she also can’t stop her heart from racing each time she looks at Jacob. She knows her concern for his forest is more than professional; it’s gotten to be very personal. What will happen to their budding relationship when her job is done and she has to move on? Will Jacob stop her? Or keep to his decision to live alone, and keep his family’s legacy going.

Vermont Valentine by Kristin Hardy is the third book in her Holiday Hearts trilogy, and I think the best! I love Jacob, and I think every woman who “meets” him will as well. This fine novel is not just about fabulous characters, but also about a heart-warming and sensuous story. I strongly encourage everyone to pick up this first-rate novel, and if you haven’t read the first two in the series, and want to read about Jacob’s two hunky brother’s than you must have Under the Mistletoe and Where There’s Smoke.

RT Bookclub
Kristin Hardy completes her excellent Holiday Hearts trilogy with Vermont Valentine (4.5), a quietly compelling, sensual story about two strong-minded yet deeply vulnerable people who are unprepared for love.

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