Sunday, December 15, 2019

Two Holiday Novels: Christmas Angels by Nancy Naigle & We Met in December by Rosie Curtis

I'm working my way through the stack of holiday novels I have at home, and decided to review two today, since I've managed to finish them both this weekend. 

Christmas Angels by Nancy Naigle caught my eye during a trip to B&N a few weeks ago.  If you're looking for something very sweet and tame, this is for you. I knew when I bought it I was guaranteed a gentle read, and it delivered. Liz Westmoreland has a very busy job and is wildly successful at it, but she dreams of returning to Antler Creek, North Carolina, where she spent summers and Christmas with her grandparents. They owned Angel's Rest, a wonderful lodge in the mountains that had a reputation for miles around as a great place to stay. After her grandparents sold the place and died shortly thereafter, Liz went on with her life, but always had the dream of going back and opening Angel's Rest again. 

Call it coincidence, or fate, but Liz sees Angel's Rest is up for sale the night before the auction, and throws caution to the winds and winds up buying it. Traveling to Antler Creek, she runs into Matt Hardy, who, as a child, spent time at Angel's Rest and quite vividly remembers Liz. He's always had a crush on her, and now she's back. Will Liz find a home at Angel's Rest, and love with Matt? 

This was a really simple, Hallmark-type plot. Nothing wrong with that; in fact, it is the perfect book to tuck into after a long day at work. Grab a cup of tea and relax. Rating: 3/6.

We Met in December by Rosie Curtis is set in London, and centers around a year in the life of Jess and Alex. Both are new to London, and have just moved into a very large home in Notting Hill owned by their friend Becky. She's inherited the home from her grandparents, and wants to help her friends with some affordable housing. Jess meets Alex on her first night there, and is instantly smitten. Alex is fresh off a break-up with his fiancee, and has left his career as a lawyer and is working through nursing school. He's not interested in romance, even though he thinks to himself that Jess is exactly the kind of woman he would be interested in--if he was interested. Emma, a glamorous gal, joins the group, as well as Rob, a forty-something Scottish chef who lives in the basement. The five all come and go, having get togethers, drinking wine, and watching Netflix movies when they have the chance, but all are super busy with their careers. 

This novel moves through a year, starting in December, when they all move into the house. Becky has said "no messing around" amongst the group living there, which causes Jess a moment or two of despair. However, she comes back from vacation to find Alex and Emma have begun a "friends with benefits" relationship under cover. Crushed that her crush is involved with someone else, Jess works her way through the next year building her friendship with Alex, all while wishing she could get over her deepening feelings for him. You also get Alex's side of the year, as we see him diving deep into school and nursing rounds, often exhausted and short of money as he works on his dream. Alex and Jess take walks around London, spending time together, but neither making a move towards romance. Will they ever come together? 

There are a few events that throw curve balls, just when you think they might finally own up to their feelings for each other. But, it is a holiday romance, and while there is a happy ending, it took a long time to get there. I would have been happy to see this shortened to a six month event! Rating: 3/6.

So. Two holiday novels about two couples who inch their way towards happily ever after. What both had in common were unrequited love, fear of rejection, and other characters finally interfering to push each couple towards confessing their feelings and resolving their issues. Phew! 

Both are available in paperback and ebook. 

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