What tickled my fancy: Disappearing mystery shop! Christmas bras! And someone has a planned home birth.
What ticked me off: The heroine is supposed to be short on money, yet buys every piece of Christmas-related crap under the sun. (Yes, I’m being contradictory.)
Who might like it: Readers who enjoy a lighthearted holiday romance that doesn’t get too sappy (despite the aforementioned Christmas crap.)
I’m having a run of awful review books, so turned to my emergency stash of reliable authors. This isn’t typical Stuart as we now know her, but has her usual smooth writing and ability to create droolworthy guys with a few well chosen words — useful, since this is a short story. Originally published in an anthology, it can now be bought as a separate ebook.
Angie, a self-described Christmas slut, can’t see spending the season in Hawaii with her family. Instead she returns to her hometown, where she encounters a mysterious candle store and her old friend/crush, Brody. What Angie doesn’t know is that Brody has always cared about her, yet never felt he had a chance because she was attached at the hip to the boy who later became her husband — and then her ex.
I liked the contemporary feeling of this story — category romance often ages really fast. And it had cute and funny moments. A running joke is Angie’s obsession with Christmas and inability to resist anything related to it:
“What else did you buy?”
“Lots of things.”
Angie took a deep breath. “Christmas napkins, Christmas glasses, soda pop with Santa on the can, Christmas pasta, Christmas paper plates, Christmas candy, Christmas towels. I even got enough fabric to make a Christmas shower curtain.”
“Just a couple of new Christmas CDs,” she said defensively.
“A Christmas sweater, green and red yarn to knit a scarf, a musical globe, a couple of Christmas mystery novels, cereal with red marshmallow stars and green marshmallow trees and — “
“Spare me,” Patsy said. “At least they don’t make Christmas diapers.”
The romance is hot in a subtle way and has a few good emotional twinges, though there isn’t room for a lot of angst. Honestly, I could have done without the woo-woo magic candle element, which doesn’t add much to the story. Interestingly, it turns out that the mysterious shop was the connecting theme in the original anthology, and in context it sounds kind of fascinating, as described in this All About Romance review. I’m curious enough to check the book out of the library and read the other stories now. Anyway, this was a pleasant way to pass the time. C