Review: Hope At Christmas by Nancy Naigle

Review: Hope At Christmas by Nancy NaigleHope At Christmas by Nancy Naigle

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on 10 October 2017
Pages: 354
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-stars  

Sydney Ragsdale is looking for a fresh start far away from her controlling ex-husband and the self-doubt that has plagued her since the divorce. Returning to her childhood home in Hopewell, North Carolina is just what her soul needs. Praying some Christmas magic will follow her she moves with her daughter to a farmhouse that once belonged to her grandparents. While there Sydney finds solace working at The Book Bea, her favorite bookstore.

Single dad Kevin MacAlea, Mac to his friends, is the local high school history teacher and baseball coach. He is also the towns best kept secret—he has been playing Santa since his son was born twelve years ago. Mac loves the enchantment of the season and wants his son to share in his joy.

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 her running away and threatens the relationship that she has begun with Mac.

As Sydney and Mac try to figure out what their next steps are together they will soon discover that there’s always hope at Christmas.

The Delight

Small town Christmas, a heroine needing a change, a hero needing a chance, a young girl’s Christmas wish for Santa, an enchanting book store and voila, it was the perfect recipe for a Christmas goodie.

Review

Hope at Christmas really was a sugary sweet snow globe-type of Christmas story in some respects, but it also dealt with some realism in a woman getting over a cheating husband and divorce, a child who is in the middle, struggling with not becoming jaded to other chances out there, a homemaker learning to make her own way, and that is all just Sydney’s side of matters.  Then there is Mac who is further along in the process because yep, his wife left him and his son behind during the holidays, too.  He’s always played Santa for the town and secretly wished his son would give Christmas a chance, but now he sets eyes on Sydney and wants to be the one to bring her some Christmas magic.

It’s all the ooey-gooey goodness for sure and much of the book gently introduces the special bookshop, The Book Bea, and its owner , Miss Bea, who sagely helps Sidney on the road to healing.  There is also a great deal of Mac and Sydney separately doing the single parenting thing.  But yes, the sweet slow-burn romance happens.  It’s a low-angst story until Sydney starts to panic about feeling something again for another man and doesn’t want to take a chance.  She is newly divorced so the panic makes sense for the story and keeps things on the cautious side which totally worked for me with all the other elements that come together in the book.

In the end, I felt it was a bite of Christmas sugary goodness come early and perfect for immersing in the holiday feelings and setting with a nice sweet romance to cuddle up with.  Might need Sydney’s hot chocolate recipe and Mac’s lasagna recipe, too…

Challenges

Romance Roundabout #288 CR
New Release #170 HoHoHoRAT #1
Books N Tunes #44  Vince Guaraldi’s O Tannenbaum

Recommendations

Review The Christmas He Loved Her by Juliana Stone  Review all He Wants for Christmas by Lisa Plumley

Preview

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • oh yes it’s always nice to have a christmas story like that!

  • RO

    It’s always great to read a book about healing through the holidays that’s not too deep. Great book for a Hallmark movie! Hugs…RO

    • Yes, its a good candidate for a Hallmark. 🙂

  • Yes, it all comes so fast. I’ve read a handful of Christmas romances and so far they’ve all been good about getting me in the spirit. A couple, like this one, have surprised me in a good way. Thanks, Geybie. 🙂

  • I have this and plan to read before the holiday.

    • It definitely puts one in the mood for lots of Christmas traditions. 🙂

  • A great choice for this time of year.

  • A Christmas-themed romance novel! I’ve read a few of those already and I honestly love the Christmas theme. I loooooove Christmas. 😀 Low on angst is always a plus. I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Sophia!

    Have a wonderful week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • Yep! Tis the season for Christmas romances, Alyssa. 🙂 I loved that it was low key much of the story.

  • I only got to read 1 holiday book so far (not much reader of this genre), but if it’s as good as this one, I wouldn’t mind reading another one again. I’m glad you enjoyed this one Sophia Rose 🙂

    xx
    Vanessa @ Blushing Geek

    • That’s okay if you don’t read them much. I never used to, either, Vanessa. But yes, when they are a really good story, its worth it. 🙂

  • Karen

    ooey-gooey is good for the holidays 🙂

    For What It’s Worth

    • Probably the one time of the year I’ll tolerate that much sweetness and sugar in my romance. 🙂

  • I think I could get on board with that. I do like a bit more sugary during the holidays 🙂

    • Yep, its okay to go for the sugar during the holidays. 🙂 I get in the mood for it now when other times it would be too much.

  • I am always looking for a good Christmas book that gives me all those cozy feels!!

    • You have come to the right place, Renee. 🙂

  • I love the sound of this one. Not many books keep that sweet Christmas feel while having characters with real issues. Glad you enjoyed this one.

    • Yes, exactly. I liked that it was a little fluffy, but wasn’t all fluff. 🙂

  • i got this in my christmas jar tbr so here is to hoping i read it this year cause it sounds lovely

    • Its a lovely sweet treat. And I do love the idea of your Christmas TBR jar, Lily!

  • This sounds like a good Christmas read to me! Glad it was a good one even if it was sugary sweet. Holidays are for that sort of read, I think.

    • Yes, the holiday romances are allowed to be sugary sweet. 🙂

  • I’ve been on a holiday book kick this year, and this one seems like a great addition to my list! Small towns at Christmas always warm my heart, and I like that the author balances the fun of Christmas with some more serious story lines. Great review, Sophia!

    • Oh hey, then this one should be a good one for you, Lauren.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Love the coziness of holiday romance reading. Glad to hear this was a good one.

    • Oh yes! She set the tone so well that I felt my spirits lifting just by reading it. 🙂