It’s officially Christmas reading season for me and I couldn’t wait to dive into this one. I loved the cover and it just screamed Christmas magic for me even if I haven’t read anything else by Michelle Major, this one just screamed read me for some reason. I know that Michelle Major is we well known romance author with quite a few series under her belt so I felt confident that I would enjoy this book by a beloved writer!
While this is part of a series, it is not necessary for a new reader to go back and read the other books. I felt right at home in the book and with the characters without having read the first book which is usually typical for most romances. It was very evident that Major is a skilled writer with experience crafting romances and chemistry between her characters. I enjoyed this one so much and actually ordered a couple of her other books to read in the coming months.
If you love holiday romances this book is going to be a great option for you. The cover is stunning and eye catching, and not to mention the story within will warm your heart and make you feel cozy and satisfied. So pick up your eggnog or hot tottie and settle in for some holiday romance with this charming read!
Spend the holidays in Magnolia, North Carolina, where two lonely hearts find exactly what they need for Christmas.
Anji Guilardi needs a man for Christmas—at least, according to her mother. What she really needs is to grow her fledgling catering business. Partnering with Magnolia’s Wildflower Inn holds promise, but when her mother falls ill, Anji’s drawn back to the responsibility of the family restaurant. Balancing work and her eight-year-old son, she has no time for romance…until Anji runs into Gabriel Carlyle.
Temporarily helping at his grandmother’s flower shop, Gabriel doesn’t plan to stick around, especially after he bumps into Anji, one of his childhood bullies. Sure, she’s all grown up and gorgeous now, and when they find themselves under the mistletoe, their chemistry is undeniable. But it’ll take more than a Christmas miracle for Anji to break through the defenses of Gabriel’s well-guarded heart and find a love built to last. (summary from Goodreads)
Normally my go to genre for romance is enemies to lovers. I love that troupe and I feel like the chemistry is always rife with tension and heat. While I wouldn’t qualify this book as an enemies to lovers romance, the characters have a history and resentment that I think makes the chemistry and tension satisfying for fans of that romance troupe but the history of a ‘second chance’ romance too if that makes sense. It’s kind of a weird mix of troupes that somehow really works. I thought that Anji and Gabriel’s history made this book exciting and created opportunities for growth from both characters but also added this layer of complexity that kept me reading. I really enjoyed this book for the characters and their history.
While this book is a romance, it isn’t a straight up romance—there are other themes and issues at play in this one. It has romantic elements to be sure but there are also other circumstances driving the characters and their choices beyond just the romance. While I love a good solid romance, I also like how adding other things to the plot builds up the romance and gives readers a reason to keep reading and engaging with the story and characters. I also loved that this one had a nice Christmas feel without being overwhelming. I hate when some Christmas novels ‘try too hard’ to being the Christmas cheer. I have read some where I am just like lord I get it it’s the holidays! And I have read others where I am like wait is this set during Christmas at all? This one struck a nice balance between both and I really appreciated that.
This was a quick easy read for me and I read it in a couple of days. I felt satisfied with the ending and since it was my first novel by Major, I was left wanting to read more by her. I loved the characters and the setting, Gabriel was lovable and sexy. Anji was sweet and while she had her own issues she works to resolve them. I loved the feel goodness of this book and I feel ready for more holiday books now. If you love contempo romance with a splash of holiday cheer this book is for you. I think this will be a hot Christmas read this year! It’s out now so make sure to pick up a copy to read!
Book Info and Rating
Format 288 pages
Published: October 26th 2021 by HQN
Free review copy provided by publisher, Harlequin, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: holiday romance, contempo romance