Reviewed by May
Grace Madison is a successful writer, but is she a happy woman? When she returns home for Christmas after being gone for years she is struck by a number of things. Her family has been struck hard by the loss of her father and they plan on selling the bookstore he ran for so long. Her first love Luke Hastings is around too- and looking good. It’s really too bad things didn’t work out years ago. Could things work out now?
This is exactly the kind of Christmas romance I hope for. Set in a snowy little Vermont town, lovely supporting characters, successful female lead and handsome gentleman just waiting to swoop in… it had all the components. Unfortunately things never came together to become the story it could have been.
She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye, and her heart panged. There he was. Her sweet love. Luke Hastings. The love of her life. The man who chased her through the icy waters of the creek in the heat of summer. The man who had taken her to bed in cool, cotton sheets. The man who had kissed her until she wept, the man who had held her until she couldn’t breathe. The man whose smile could warm her heart, and whose frown could stop it.
Are you getting the picture? He was the man, and apparently still is. Each feels that the other wronged them and was responsible for the break-up, which didn’t make sense to me. It was pretty clear that they had issues and then Luke went and got married – which sends a pretty clear signal don’t you think?
My problems with this story boil down to a few points:
1. Luke clearly has not processed his guilt and loss regarding his (dead) wife.
2. The charming supporting characters jump in often to derail the story, not add to the romance.
3. There is no real conflict, no compelling story, and no depth to this romance. Just two idiots who messed it up the first time and who want to make a second go of things.
4. The dialogue and pace of the story never grabbed me. See quote above for example.
So was there any one huge problem or plot point that I can point to and say “this is why! This is the problem!”
No, not really.
What I really see is that there were a lot of things I liked about the idea of the book such as the book shop and working towards new career goals for Grace. I also thought her mother was an interesting character and found the town setting in general charming. As a story though, it didn’t work for me. The issues with Luke felt overdone and perhaps forced in order to try and make the story more dramatic. Instead, as it so often happens, it made me doubt the romance.
If I could think of more specific nice things to say about this book, or if I could think of a reader I feel this would appeal strongly to I would recommend it to them. As it stands, it’s a story in a genre I adore that didn’t ever come together.