Saturday, December 11, 2021

A Magical New York Christmas by Anita Hughes

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 I've read quite a few Anita Hughes novels and she has a way of putting me right into glamorous places that I'm pretty sure I won't have a chance to experience in my real life. And that's exactly what I enjoy about her novels. 

This one is particularly interesting because it takes place over the Christmas holiday at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. It also involves the author of the Eloise books, Kay Thompson. A little bit of literary history tossed in with the magic of New York City at Christmas time--and romance, too.

Sabrina is a struggling writer who is just scraping by when she gets hired by renowned art dealer Grayson Prescott to help write his memoir. Part of the deal is staying at the Plaza Hotel for six days and nights on his dime. Sabrina is thrilled not only for the paycheck, but also because Eloise is her favorite heroine from childhood.

 What makes it even more appealing  are Grayson's stories of his time as a butler at the Plaza, and taking care of Kay Thompson herself. 

Sabrina's first night at the Plaza has her bumping into Ian, who is there as personal secretary to his friend Spencer, a member of the British peer. Young and handsome, Ian is working on putting together a collection of Braxton family jewels at the Met and keeping an eye on Spencer, who has a big heart and is always falling in love. 

Ian, however, is smitten with Sabrina, and she mistakenly assumes he's the man with a title--while Ian assumes Sabrina is a wealthy woman staying at the Plaza and wouldn't be interested in him. Along with their romance, Grayson recounts his time with Kay at the Plaza in the early 1960's and his romance with the lovely Veronica. 

It sounds like a lot, but it actually all goes together pretty well. I had to Google Kay Thompson to read about her life, and she was a pretty amazing woman! And she did live at the Plaza for a number of years at one point in her life. 

As per usual Anita Hughes novels, there is a lot of high end clothing, swanky places to dine and drink, and frequent mentions of Tiffany and Co. And of course the Plaza is the best place to stay in NYC at Christmas time. Sounds like a marvelous experience. 

This was a fun holiday read, for sure. My only annoyance was the mistaken identity plot went on a lot longer than it should have and got a bit old. But I did enjoy feeling just a bit luxurious for a few days!

Rating: 4/6 for a novel set in a magical place: the Plaza Hotel during Christmas. Themes of lost love, taking chances, and recognizing the good things life brings us are all woven through the tales of Kay, Grayson, and Sabrina. Grab a comfy throw, light the fireplace, and sip some tea while you enjoy this novel. 

Available in paperback, audio, and e-book. 

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