A Christmas Bride is by an author that I have come to anticipate good things after reading her Last Chance series. She does small town and colorful characters so well. A Christmas Bride was no exception as there is a new small town in Shenandoah Falls and a new set of town characters to love and enjoy while getting a delightful, heartwarming romance at the core.
The story opens with the ignominious return of newly branded rebel and troublemaker, Willow Petersen, to her hometown. Willow is nothing like her hippie, vegan, cause-demonstrating mother, but now people paint her with the same brush because she blew the whistle on corporate fraud when her CEO boyfriend wouldn’t fix the defective hip replacement pieces they sold to Medicaid recipients. He sicced the media and his lawyers on her so everyone thinks she is merely a disgruntled former employee and bitter ex. Christmas is looking bleak this year. What will she do with her life now?
Widower and son of the area’s political royalty, David Lyndon, is none too pleased about the return of his dead wife’s best friend and absentee god-mother to his daughter. He just wants to sell the old inn that reminds him of his past with Shelly and move on to running for Congress. But with the arrival of Willow, he is faced with pressure to host his cousin’s wedding at the inn, fixing up the inn for the wedding, seeing his daughter come alive under Willow’s attention, working with Willow to bring the inn back to life, and also his family’s expectations that he chuck it all and focus on his future. David has followed his family’s expectation for him all his life, but now Willow and his other friends in town are encouraging him to step out and do something for himself.
Alright, this was a delightful holiday story. I love it when the holidays are more than a passing bit and play a role. David’s wife died around the time of Christmas so he has shut down any love for it though he tries for the sake of his daughter who is also struggling after the loss of her mother. Shelly was the light and fun-loving parent and David the shy, serious one. The inn is also home to Shelly’s widowed mother who thinks she is old and on the shelf, but she misses the wonderful Christmas events the old inn was known for. Willow wants to fulfill Shelly’s dream of bringing the old inn back to life and feels a Christmas wedding is a good starter while working hard to find investors and be the one to buy the inn to become a destination wedding location.
The romance is not simple. The pair have been friends for years and never felt that sort of attraction until now. David has to get past the grief for his wife and decide if it’s alright to get involved with his wife’s best friend and a woman who is not ideal political wife material particularly because she has her own reputation after the way she was trashed in the NYC papers. Willow also has to get over the fact that David is her best friend’s widower husband and that he comes from the wealthy and powerful Lyndon clan. She worries that the stirring up will eventually drive David away and also not be good for his daughter. But, through it all, it is obvious that the pair of them are very good for each other and for a lonely little girl. I enjoyed that there was conflict, but it didn’t over-balance. Both sides have their issues and must work through them.
The pace was gentle and it was mostly character-driven drama. Good Lord did David’s mom ooze the drama. I just wanted someone to bump her off-balance into the icy fishing river and be done. I enjoyed the secondary winter romance going on, but also the camaraderie and fun scenes with a multi-generational group of all the other friends and family. There are some curious and fun folk that hopefully will get stories of their own.
All in all, this was a great beginning to a series (though I do need to go back for the prequel novella) and I can’t wait to continue with the next story. These would be great for those who love sweet with a bit of spice small town contemporary romance.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
This story is loaded with things I could bring up for my extra bit, but there was one that made me chuckle and nod because it resonated in me. For this Christmas wedding story, one of the bridesmaids has created Pinterest pages. I laughed my socks off because it was for-ev-er long and full of impossible and conflicting ideas for one small and rushed wedding, but she was determined. This reminds me of my own infatuation (read addiction to) with Pinterest. I love finding holiday decoration, food, and gift ideas on Pinterest. I have boards full of these ideas in point of fact, but sadly, I’ve only tried a few and, of those, they most definitely do not look like the picture. Crashed and burned spectacularly with a certain cutesy cupcake idea last fall.
So Pinterest, are you on it? Have you done any of the ideas you’ve found? How’d that go? Do tell!
Here’s another cupcake I found that is slated for my next attempt: Christmas Cupcake from My Baking Addiction @ mybakingaddiction.com
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