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.
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.
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…
New Release #170 HoHoHoRAT #1
Books N Tunes #44 Vince Guaraldi’s O Tannenbaum
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