by Nancy Naigle
Published on October 10, 2017 by St. Martin's Griffin
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romance
A recently divorced woman and her daughter look for a fresh start by moving to a small town that embraces them in ways that only fate and the magic of Christmas can explain.
Sydney Ragsdale is divorced, but her husband is still calling the shots. In an attempt to shake free from his hold, she and her daughter, Ray Anne, head for tiny Hopewell, NC to the only asset her ex has no control over – a decaying farmhouse that once belonged to her grandparents. She finds solace at The Book Bea, the bookstore she’d loved as a child during her summer stays.
Kevin MacAlea, Mac to his friends, is the local high school history teacher and baseball coach. Father of a twelve-year-old son, he’s Hopewell, North Carolina’s most sought after bachelor. His young bride abandoned him and his son just before Christmas and has never come back. It has left his son bitter about Christmas which is hard for Mac who loves the magic of the season. He’s been the Santa here in Hopewell since the year Seth was born.
But when a catastrophe forces The Book Bea to close before the end of the year, everyone in the small town is feeling the loss. While Sydney is already off-balance by the bad news, her ex-husband breaks a promise to their daughter that sends Ray Anne running away. As Sydney tries to figure out what her next steps are she discovers all of the answers are right here in Hopewell.
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I was doing so well with the contemporary romances. It’s not a genre I ever expected to find myself reading and yet I found I’ve become addicted to them. . . except this one. Hope at Christmas was just not the book for me.
Small town? Check. Sweet romance? Check. Story? Well, it was there but it had problems for me. The dual perspectives was fine but in a romance I want the characters to meet pretty early on and that didn’t happen. The focus of the book shifted to what I would expect to be subplots rather than the actual romance. Unfortunately, while written well (I’m assuming), those subplots and backgrounds for the characters weren’t ones I could relate to enough to make me an invested reader. Mac is a single dad. Sydney is working toward finalizing a divorce and moving with her daughter. Nothing wrong with either backstory, I just didn’t connect with them.
Which made it pretty hard to buy into the clean romance. Yes, if you’re interested in a clean, holiday romance then this is a good fit for you. It reminded me of the Christmas movies my grandmother liked to watch when I was younger. Again, not a bad thing, but not for me.
Hope at Christmas is perfect for anyone looking to get into the holiday spirit with a cute romance. It wasn’t my cup of tea but the writing was decent and I think it could appeal to a lot of other readers so definitely don’t let this review stop you from checking it out if you’re interested!