Review: Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan

sleighbellsinsnowSleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan (O’Neil Brothers #1)
Released: October 29, 2013
Contemporary Romance
Harlequin

Reviewed by May

Snow Crystal, Vermont is the quintessential Vermont small town that I imagine when I think of that beautiful state. It boasts breathtaking fall scenery, skiing, and a small caring community who loves calling it home. The problem is, the resort is losing money and it won’t be long before the O’Neil family loses their businesses and family home.

Luckily, Jackson (one of three sons) is a highly successful winter sports business owner in Europe and he’s come home with a plan to revitalize and save Snow Crystal. He’ll just need a little help from the amazing PR specialist in Manhattan Kayla Green to let the world know about his family’s resort and all it offers.

Kayla jumps at the opportunity to check out this remote town during Christmas week so she can escape the hustle of Manhattan and the forced cheer all around. A secluded cabin and solitude sounds like heaven – after all she doesn’t have any family that ever wants her around anyways and Christmas is an especially painful time of year. Little does she know that this trip to Vermont may turn into something much more than a simple week getting to know a client’s property.

This book was exactly what I want out of a holiday romance, and it is the best one I’ve read so far this year. There was a cast full of interesting characters I loved spending time with. There was snow and holiday cheer and details galore. The plot was simple but moved forward at a brisk pace. Oh, and the setting was superb. Morgan really took us to this small resort and made me wish to immediately hop a plane to Vermont to join in the fun.

Speaking of fun, I really liked how Kayla and Jackson immediately had chemistry and were such a great match for each other. There was a delightful balance of tenderness, romance, and humor.

“You need to trust your skis”

“I only met them a few hours ago. I never trust anyone on such a short acquaintance.”

Kayla could have been a problem – more often than not the story of a city girl with a great career who falls in love with a small town and guy who lives there is badly done. You feel like the heroine is giving something up, that she’s changing who she is at her core, or otherwise that she’s going to be less in order to be with her man.

In this case Kayla clearly loves the work that she does, but the Manhattan office and jet setting and working 24/7 is a tactic to fill an otherwise empty life. She herself admits this, and so for this story it didn’t feel like she was giving something up, rather that she was discovering a new and wonderful side of life that she had never before allowed herself to imagine having.

I loved that Jackson was the one who is really into the holidays and all the traditions and details – and that he shared them in his own way with Kayla. Does Santa exist? Jackson has proof he does.

“He exists. I know it for sure because his reindeer left a hell of a mess on one of the trails last year. He also knocked a piece out of one of the chimneys. I blame my mother for leaving out too many cinnamon stars. By the time the guy had eaten them he was too fat to get back on his sleigh.”

Another really wonderful thing about this story is that Kayla was able to develop the start of some wonderful female friendships too. From the ski instructor to the French chef – these were ladies I really enjoyed and I expect we’ll see more of in future books set in Snow Crystal.

“You talk about politics during sex?”

“Of course not, but I expect conversation afterward.” She gave Kayla a pointed look. “I do not run off.”

If I have one complaint about this story, it is that I wish there had been more time for the couple to be together or that the ending had been a bit different. There is an “insta-love” kind of feel to it which I’m not generally a fan of. Even with the love story taking place in just a single week, I still felt it worked really well and I loved every page. This author managed to really bring everything I love about holiday romances in general into one beautiful story full of fantastic characters, steamy chemistry, and Christmas spirit. From sleigh rides to puppies, quiet time in a snowy forest to learning to ski and the scent of gingerbread- I loved every page.

I will be anxiously awaiting the next story set in Snow Crystal, and I can’t wait to see which brother we get to watch fall in love next.

Grade: A

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