In A Nutshell

    • Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday, Chick-Lit
    • Notes: Not the strongest Kleypas I’ve ever read, but a perfect, short holiday themed jaunt perfect for the festive season.
    • Recommended For: Kleypas fans, and people looking for a Holiday themed romance that isn’t complete crap.

Not my usual style read, but perfect on a snowy day in December with some hot chocolate . . . It would probably make more sense to review this during the holiday season, but as I recently read it I wanted to get this review out now so that people can potentially benefit from it next Christmas. Or not, you know, whatever.

As I sat on the bus one day I realized that I was really lacking the Christmas spirit. Being an unnaturally warm winter, it didn’t feel like Christmas. I decided to look up and see if there were any Christmas romance novels that might strike my fancy. When I googled Christmas Romance Novels, I found Kleypas’s Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor pretty easily. Hoorah for her SEO advisors. The “Friday Harbor” series is actually her current project. I didn’t realize this was a series until after I finished reading this first book.

SYNOPSIS

ONE LITTLE GIRL NEEDS A FAMILY One rain-slicked night, six-year-old Holly lost the only parent she knew, her beloved mother Victoria. And since that night, she has never again spoken a word.

ONE SINGLE MAN NEEDS A WIFE The last thing Mark Nolan needs is a six-year-old girl in his life. But he soon realizes that he will do everything he can to make her life whole again. His sister’s will gives him the instructions: There’s no other choice but you. Just start by loving her. The rest will follow.

SOMETIMES, IT TAKES A LITTLE MAGIC… Maggie Collins doesn’t dare believe in love again, after losing her husband of one year. But she does believe in the magic of imagination. As the owner of a toy shop, she lives what she loves. And when she meets Holly Nolan, she sees a little girl in desperate need of a little magic.

…TO MAKE DREAMS COME TRUE Three lonely people. Three lives at the crossroads. Three people who are about to discover that Christmas is the time of year when anything is possible, and when wishes have a way of finding the path home…

Ok, so after that synopsis you know this book is going to have sappy moments. But I haven’t been disappointed in Kleypas yet, so I thought for $6.99 (on Nook) why not give it a shot? And as luck would have it, I enjoyed it and read it in 2 days (mostly on my commute to work.) Sometimes you don’t need the next great american novel, or even just a Romance Saga. Sometimes, what you really want is to have an episode of romance. That’s what this book is. A quick look-see into a sweet and feel-good story. It’s low on angst but very big on heart.

Did it define my life? No. Did it get me into the holiday spirit? You know, it actually did. Mark is believable as a bachelor suddenly saddled with his lovable but heartbroken niece. Maggie is fun with her down to earth personality and her nuturing nature.

One complaint I do have? For a Kleypas novel it felt rather quick. Not just short, but it moved quickly and it was short. I felt a little cheated out of the story, but at the same time I didn’t feel like I was missing any of the plot. I’m just spoiled by her other contemporary novels (See The Travis Series (Sugar Daddy, Blue-Eyed Devil, and Smooth Talking Stranger)) and expected a longer story.

But what this book emphasized in it’s brevity, was an aspect of Kleypas’s storytelling that I forget to mention as I usually love everything she does. The way she writes her conversations between her heroine and hero are always fun, never boring, and extremely entertaining. When was the last time you read a romance novel because you like the conversations? Am I right?

In the end I’m going to give this ★★★, not because it wasn’t well done, but because compared to Kleypas’s other novels, I did feel it lacked oomph. But if it was anyone else I’d give it ★★★1/2 – ★★★★, because it was just what I was looking for at exactly the right time.

It’s a feel good story, between a realistic and charming couple. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a really great Christmas Romance Novel or even just a great, short and sweet romance novel. Read it on a dreary day, curled up in a warm chair with a warm mug of joe.

★★★

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