Briar Creek's quaint shop windows, cozy homes nestled in snow, and neighborly residents are what Christmas dreams are made of--for everyone except Grace Madison. She left her hometown years ago to pursue a writing career. Read more...
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Briar Creek's quaint shop windows, cozy homes nestled in snow, and neighborly residents are what Christmas dreams are made of--for everyone except Grace Madison. She left her hometown years ago to pursue a writing career. But when her father's death leaves his bookstore empty, Grace must return to face why she fled Vermont in the first place: Luke Hastings, who still heats her up like a shot of smoky whiskey on a cold winter's night.
Grace is back, and Luke is worried. How much has she changed as a bestselling author in the big city? What memories will she stir up? And was the choice he made five years ago the biggest mistake of his life?
Now, with their past, present, and future rocking around the Christmas tree, it's time for Grace and Luke to face the music . . . and the mistletoe.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-09-01
- Reviewer: Staff
This contemporary series debut moves painfully slowly. Successful author Grace Madison’s latest novel is a dud, as is her ex-fiancé, Derek. She reluctantly returns to her Vermont hometown for Christmas, only to find that her family also lacks holiday spirit. Then Grace bumps into her first love, Luke Hastings, who’s just as reluctant as she is to renew their friendship now that five years have passed since their terrible break-up. Grace and Luke argue, misunderstand each other’s intentions regarding Grace’s sudden idea to revive her deceased father’s bookstore, and gradually reveal to each other what truly broke them apart. Miles makes a well-intentioned attempt to illustrate the power of forgiveness and possibility of hope during the holiday season, but Luke and Grace lack the requisite chemistry and humor. Future books may be better, as Grace’s mother and sisters are more interesting and multifaceted characters who deserve starring roles. (Oct.)
Romance: Warm up with tales of wintry love
The holiday season is a wonderful time to snuggle by the fire with a great romance novel. These love stories are the perfect accompaniment to a mug of hot chocolate—or a hot toddy!
An accidental collision leads to a charming Christmas romance in A Gift to Remember by Melissa Hill. Dreamy, bicycle-riding bookstore manager Darcy Archer tangles with pedestrian Aidan Quinn and his dog just days before Christmas. The attractive man lands in the hospital with amnesia, while Darcy ends up with his dog and a mysterious package. Conscience-stricken, Darcy cares for his pet and follows clues to reunite Aidan with his loved ones. Beautiful blondes, a luxurious brownstone and a magnificent book collection all indicate that Aidan might be unavailable and way out of her league, but there’s an undeniable spark between them. When the puzzle pieces come together, could it result in the happiest holiday ever? Hill has conjured up a sparkling romantic fantasy in this novel.
A FAMILY CHRISTMAS
There’s so much to enjoy in What a Lady Needs for Christmas by Grace Burrowes. When Lady Joan Flynn escapes Edinburgh just ahead of a scandal, widowed businessman and single father Dante Hartwell agrees to escort her to the home where she’s to spend the holidays. As it turns out, their destinations are the same, and Joan becomes acquainted with the hardworking man and his appealing children during a long train ride. She even shares a secret: An aristocrat plied her with drink, and though her memories of the subsequent hours are hazy, Joan is afraid she might be pregnant. Sympathetic, and not without practical consideration for the business opportunities marrying a well-off woman will bring him, Dante offers a swift marriage to quiet any rumors. Love grows under the mistletoe, but Dante and Joan find that scandal might threaten their happiness. Tender and sweet, this story paints a picture of the joy of family and finding love.
OLD FLAME, NEW YEAR
First loves reunite in the poignant Mistletoe on Main Street by Olivia Miles. Grace Madison returns to her small hometown in Vermont to get over a broken engagement and a flagging career, as well as to emotionally support her family after her father’s recent death. The homecoming isn’t happy—her mother and sisters have lost their Christmas spirit, and Grace is dismayed to find her father’s bookstore has closed. Worse still, she runs into old flame Luke Hastings. She had once left him for the big city, and when she’d tried to win him back, Luke rejected her. He’s now a widower, and while their former feelings resurface, wounds and regrets still stand between them. Can the holidays illuminate the way into a future together? This tale is as warm and sweet as Christmas cocoa.
A SOLDIER'S TALE
A page-turning holiday romance is spiced with suspense in Lori Wilde’s Christmas at Twilight. Meredith Sommers is hiding from her dangerous past with her 4-year-old son in the idyllic Texas town of Twilight. All seems well until her flighty housemate, Ashley, leaves Meredith with her small daughter. Then Ashley’s brother, wounded Delta Force veteran Brian “Hutch” Hutchinson, returns to Twilight expecting to take up residence in Ashley’s home. Suddenly, Meredith is sharing the house with a scarred and silent man. Hutch is reeling from his injuries, but as he settles into his hometown again, he begins to heal—in no small part due to the beautiful woman who is trying to make the holidays special for the two children. As Meredith and Hutch get to know each other, deep feelings take root, but her secrets and his wounds might preclude a happy-ever-after.
A TOY STORY
A party-boy CEO finds true love in All He Wants for Christmas by Lisa Plumley. Jason Hamilton is less than pleased when the board of his toy company forces him to fly to the best-performing store in the Moosby’s chain to inject some wholesomeness into his freewheeling bachelor image. Once in Kismet, Michigan, he’s introduced to single mother-of-three Danielle Sharpe, the store manager. Their attraction is instant, but he’s determined to focus on work. Though Danielle knows the CEO is only a temporary visitor, she has trouble denying herself the kisses she craves. When she and Jason finally give in to their physical urges, love follows. But Danielle remains wary, and someone behind the scenes is manipulating circumstances that just might break them up. Featuring well-drawn secondary characters, this story is steeped in Christmas fun!
TOP PICK IN ROMANCE
The Cynster family celebrates the holidays in Stephanie Laurens’ lovely Regency romance, By Winter’s Light. The extended Cynster clan travels to their mansion in the Lowlands of Scotland with growing children in tow, presenting the perfect opportunity for tutor Daniel Crosbie to romance widowed governess Claire Meadows. She distrusts men and marriage, but Daniel is so very appealing. As events unfold, Claire is surpised to find herself falling in love with the charming Daniel. But they come from two different households—will the Cynsters embrace the union? Details of the customs and traditions of the time enrich this delightful tale that includes a dash of adventure—an oncoming storm, a baby on the way, the unexpected appearance of a handsome stranger—and an intriguing glimpse at new romances in the offing. Observing this very popular dynasty enjoying themselves and the season makes for wonderful, heartwarming holiday reading.