In this heartwarming tale set during the Christmas season, a single father and a fashion photographer are brought together by a young boy and a mischievous Bernese mountain dog—but first they must learn to set aside their differences if they are willing to let their relationship bloom.
David Murphy never knew much about kids. But when his brother dies unexpectedly, David is granted custody of his six-year-old nephew, Troy, who he’s only seen once a year since he was born. He already has his hands full running his business, and he has no idea how to help the grieving boy. When Troy runs off one day, David finds him at a park playing with an adorable and rambunctious Bernese mountain dog—who leads him to Sophie.
Sophie Griffith has spent her life travelling around the world as a photojournalist. She has never stayed in one place for long, and her new assignment—helping her grandmother for a few weeks—is just temporary. Once Christmas day comes, Sophie is off the hook and can leave for a new adventure. Caring for her grandmother is a piece of cake—but caring for her new Bernese mountain dog, Riggs, is a different story. It doesn’t help that Riggs strikes up a friendship with a lost little boy one day at the park—and leads her to David.
Neither David nor Sophie have time for romance. But as they spend more time together, they start falling for each other even though they know it can’t go anywhere. Sophie will be gone after Christmas, and the last thing David needs is another distraction as he tries to comfort Troy. But as their faith and growing love for the boy and dog unites them, they wonder whether it’s more than a holiday romance…and maybe Troy might finally get his Christmas wish for a family.
My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, A FAMILY UNDER THE CHRISTMAS TREE is a sweet holiday romance (which I'm reading late, but it doesn't matter, right? I love Christmas stories any time of the year.) David's brother and wife has died, leaving David the guardian for their six-year-old son, Troy. Troy is very adept at pushing the boundaries. I get that he's grieving and so is David, but I wouldn't put up with a six-year-old's disrespect and attitude. David tries not to, but he is seriously out of his league.
Sophie is an acclaimed photographer getting top jobs and world-wide photo shoots. She goes home to take care of her grandmother who is in a wheelchair for awhile and discovers that grandma is mostly interested in matchmaking David and Sophie. Sophie likes them, doesn't approve of David's parenting skills, tells him so, judges him for being a workaholic (she's one too) and when she babysits, Troy is perfectly behaved and she cleans David's whole house, top to bottom in a few hours.
I loved the dog, Riggs. Such a sweetie with Lassie tendencies.
All in all a sweet holiday romance. Predictable, but sweet, clean, and a non-intrusive faith message.