Wednesday, November 15, 2023

November Read: Bright Lights, Big Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews


The cover of this novel was irresistible to me. Well, and the fact that it's Mary Kay Andrews. I knew I was in for a treat. 

I actually read this book way back in October when I had a very short window of opportunity to read it. It's a short novel; around 300 pages, so you can definitely read it in one day. 

Kerry Tolliver is reluctantly agreeing to join her brother in hauling the family mini-trailer to New York City from North Carolina for their annual Christmas tree pop up shop. It's something Kerry's father has been doing for years and years, but this time his ill health prevents him from going, and the operation definitely needs two people. Kerry arrives in New York City with the trailer, waiting on her brother, who is bringing all the trees from their tree farm. She runs into a problem immediately: someone is parked in their spot--the one spot they've always parked the trailer and set up shop. 

Patrick lives just down the street, and once he moves his car, sparks fly between him and Kerry. But she's only there for six weeks, or until all the trees are sold. Is it worth even getting to know him?

Meanwhile, it's brutally cold outside, and the trailer is cold and cramped. The days are long, sitting outside, taking turns with her brother. They operate late into the night. Sales are slow, especially when the competition shows up kitty-corner from their lot, selling inferior trees at cheap prices. If Kerry doesn't sell out of trees, their farm will be in danger. 

There are a lot of characters in this novel, and each one adds to the story in a way that makes it charming and cozy. Queenie is brother Murphy's dog, and she's a character all unto herself. There's the older gentlemen who Kerry meets who seems sad and alone, but doesn't want to share his story. There's the folks who run the Italian restaurant just down the street who welcome Kerry with open arms and plenty of hot soup. It's a charming slice of Manhattan, and I definitely got the holiday vibes. 

This was a great way to kick off my holiday reading (even if I did read it before Halloween!). There's a lot to be said for shorter holiday novels; you get a complete story but aren't overwhelmed with trying to read a huge book. In a busy time of the year, it's a great way to treat yourself in between shopping, baking, and decorating. 

I love Mary Kay Andrews and have been reading her novels for *gasp* decades. I am so thrilled she's turned to short holiday novels.

Rating: 5/6 for a delightful look at the Christmas tree industry; a sweet love story, and a slice of a New York Christmas. 

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio book. 

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