by Nancy Naigle
Expected publication: October 18th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin
I have never read anything by Nancy Naigle before. I requested an ARC of this book because I loved the cover, the title and the synopsis by the publisher. I will definitely look for more by this author. I loved the story, the characters and of course the Christmas setting. Check this book out when it is released on October 18th, you won’t be disappointed.
My Review: Joy works in marketing in Washington, D.C.. She is on her way up the corporate ladder, but does not have much of a life outside of work. When she gets a call telling her that her Aunt Ruby has fallen and broken her leg, she drops everything, and heads off to Crystal Falls. She assumes that she will take the weekend, get Aunt Ruby settled and be back to work by Tuesday. Unfortunately, nothing goes according to plan. Aunt Ruby’s broken leg required pins to put it back together again and she needs a long rehabilitation period in a rehab centre. Joy settles into her aunt’s farmhouse, where she discovers she is now responsible for Molly, a sweet neighbour girl who Aunt Ruby helps take care of, feeding a menagerie as well as having to bake and decorate the house for the Christmas Cookie Tour. Ruby tells her not be concerned, “Handy Andy” will be able to help her with the decorations.
Joy decides to get in the spirit. She can put up a few Christmas decorations, bake some cookies, serve some beverages and entertain the townsfolk, how hard could it be? Well, Ben (Handy Andy) seems to think Joy needs a little help because this contest is much more than hanging up a few Christmas lights. This is a BIG deal to her Aunt Ruby and Ben is very serious about making sure things are done right. It is also his grandmother’s (Ruby’s best friend’s) event so he has to keep her happy as well.
Unfortunately, Joy and Ben don’t get off on the right foot and Ben doesn’t seem too impressed with Joy, and her big city attitude. Joy thinks Ben is a small town accountant who does not know anything, especially her. As we learn more about Joy and why her Christmas attitude has not been the best, you can’t help but love her. As she spends more time with Molly and Ben, experiencing the love and the sense of community she has found in Crystal Falls, the more unsure she feels about the priorities she has set for herself.
I loved the way the characters were portrayed. Both Joy and Ben have been hurt in the past and we come to know their stories. They both grow emotionally in this story and it is wonderful to see. Ruby is a great character. She is strong, opinionated, has a great sense of humour, is loving and loyal and holds the story together. Molly is an adorable six year old who has already had a rough life and needs lots of TLC.
This is a Christmas romance so of course, there will be a happy ending, but how they get there is well crafted and interesting. There is just the right amount of small town charm, romance, holiday cheer, and humour. The message is simple, but one many of us need to hear. Balance in our lives is always important, but we tend to think more about it at holidays. After reading this story, you may start your Christmas baking and shopping earlier than you thought and your Christmas decorations may be put up with carols playing in the background, but remember to do it with someone you love. Merry Christmas Everyone!!