Just about every holiday season, I read one of Nancy Naigle’s holiday romances and I have never been disappointed. It’s like reading a Hallmark Movie, you just know without a doubt that you are going to read something sweet, fun, romantic, and full of holiday cheer!
When this book was released in October, I just didn’t have room on my calendar to review it. But this year I did something I never do. I left my December calendar really open so that I could read a bunch of holiday romances!
And this one was at the top of my list to read! I could easily have finished it in a day but then of course life got in the way so it took me a couple of days to read, but I was happy because that meant I got to drag it out a little more and enjoy all the wonderful words inside a little longer!
Vanessa Larkin was supposed to be spending Christmas in Paris, France on a business trip she hoped to enjoy as a working vacation. Instead, she’s been assigned to Fraser Hills, North Carolina–home of the Best Fruitcake in the USA–to convert her company’s property into warehouse space and shut down Porter’s, the fruitcake factory. Offering retirement packages and selling locals on new job opportunities may not spread holiday cheer, but Vanessa believes she’s helping secure the town’s future.
Mike Marshall’s family founded Porter’s. For decades, the factory served as the lifeblood of the community until his grandfather sold the business to a Chicago corporation. The sale cost the town its independence–and the Marshalls their family ties. A horse farmer, Mike was never involved with his grandfather’s company, but still felt Fraser Hills lost part of its identity. And as a widower raising a teenage daughter, he’s suffered enough losses in one lifetime. News of the factory’s closing means losing another piece of the town’s legacy.
Far from the skyscrapers and rapid pace of the city, Vanessa finds herself enjoying the easygoing rhythms of rural living. With Mike as her guide, she learns to appreciate the simple pleasures found in shared holiday festivities among friends. Fraser Hills is a town she is growing to love–and Mike is someone she is falling in love with. Now all Vanessa needs is a Christmas miracle to give her newfound friends and home a gift they’ll cherish for many New Years to come. (summary from Goodreads)
Of all the Christmas books I have read from Naigle, I have to say this one is my absolute favorite. I think I said that about the last one, but this one was so wonderful! I adore Percheron horses and to have them featured so predominantly in this story just made it for me! I adored the setting and the small town charm of Fraser Hills. It really got me in the mood for Christmas!
While I might not have loved Vanessa at the beginning, I loved watching her transform and come to realize the importance of slowing down and seeing the beauty in life rather than just work was such a great message to readers. I know that having just returned to work in a more professional and management role, as a young mom, it’s hard to find that work/life balance! I tend to run to the extreme and would work all day if I was allowed but I have to force myself to step away and focus on other things and that work will be there—it’s not like I’m the president or queen or something.
So I thought that this was a great message to the mid twenties to late thirties reader demographic and Vanessa would appeal to many readers of this book. WhileI might not have loved her, I could easily see myself in her character and appreciated her as the story went on.
Now let’s get to the real question of the story—-the hero? Mike was wonderful! I loved his charm, honesty, and of course the fact that he loved horses just melted me. I adored him and I think readers will fall in love with him just like I did. I mean, he has Percherons for god sake. How can you not love a man with gorgeous horse?!
If you are a fan of holiday romances and Hallmark movies, this is the book for you. I adored it and I can’t wait to read the next holiday novel from Nancy Naigle. She has a talented hand at Christmas and this book is full of romance, snow, adorable animals, small town charm, and of course SO. MUCH. CHRISTMAS. I loved it!
Book Info and Rating
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 29th 2020 by St. Martin’s Griffin
ISBN1250312647 (ISBN13: 9781250312648)
Free review copy provided by publisher, St Martin’s Griffin, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: holiday romance, romance