I knew I couldn’t go wrong when I saw Christmas, Vicarage, and Kate Hewitt all on the same cover. Then to find out there are four sisters in the family… I was delighted! So this first book in a series is Anna’s story. She reluctantly returns home for the holidays – home to the vicarage where her parents live. When things at home get too overwhelming, Anna’s introverted self traipses down to the local pub to get a moment of respite. She finds some kind of respite alright – on a barstool next to a handsome, witty, sensitive, take charge kinda guy – and from there on in her life has changed.
Obvi I love the superficial parts of this book, but I also enjoyed the sister dynamics, the push and pull of a long-standing marriage, and the self-discovery of a woman who spent quite a many years avoiding her feelings. And I’m pretty excited to read three more! I think this quadogy or whatever it’s called really works for me: enough of a series to motivate me to get invested, but not too long of a series where storylines seem to repeat after a while. So fun.
Anita Hughes writes for the reader who wants to escape. No matter if you’re reading Hughes’ beach vacation novels or her holiday books, you’ll remove yourself from reality, suspend your disbelief, and enjoy a ride through luxury.
In Christmas in London, baker Louisa gets whisked away to London by television show producer Noah. She and her cinnamon rolls are needed for filming a Christmas special with a handsome, charming, world-famous chef and cookbook writer.
When I read Hughes, I just latch on to the main character and forget my real life. In London, I got to wake up to the smell of coffee and pastry, buy fancy new clothes, take walks with the cutie pie producer, take cooking classes with the famous chef (and hang out in a mansion with him), and live the tv star life for a week… not to mention get a happily ever after (and watch a new friend get one too).
I really adore Amish fiction. Beverly Lewis is a pro at delivering believable plot lines, excellent writing, and characters so real that I start mimicking their facial expressions when reading dialogue.
Mandy is a capable girl who left her Amish community because she was emotionally hurt. I was so glad Mandy ended up with a reason to return to her home – even if it wasn’t her first choice to do so. Though she had some family struggles and some uncertainty with the community and faith she grew up with, Mandy’s sister helped her see the truth about herself and her true home.
I love all things B&B-related, so I was in my element with Amish baking on the inn’s farm table, sheets drying on the line, and guests who came for respite and left refreshed. Getting to know the guests is always fun, and the carriage rides aren’t bad either.
I read The Proving after a slew of September mediocrity, and I was very relieved to be able to effortlessly enjoy the inn, the sisterhood, and the faith of Mandy and her family.
After a few weeks of mediocre romances, I was so happy to read the first few pages of COMPLETELY. I knew by the end of the first chapter that I would come to know the main characters as if they were real people. I don’t know how some other authors can describe what a character is wearing and it seems all irrelevant and extraneous, and then Ruthie Knox describes someone’s clothing in a way that paints a picture in my mind and makes me know the character better. Whatever that particular facet of writing talent is, I’m grateful. I really was about to go on a romance hiatus until COMPLETELY came my way.
So besides the draw of a good romance, COMPLETELY enamored me with complex family dynamics, the intricacies of mountain climbing, and the turmoil of people trying to decide if they’re suppose to continue on their current path or not. Most of the book was about mountain climbing. I learned a ton. But between the lines I also learned that the best figurative mountains to climb are the ones that are the most difficult.
COMPLETELY has some steamy scenes and a whole lot of fun dates in New York City. It was a bit of a departure from the fluff romances I usually read, and I need to remember to go back and read Knox’s New York books #1&2.
If you’ve read Debbie Macomber before, consider MERRY AND BRIGHT a typical Macomber Christmas read: sweet, clean, family oriented, and pretty predictable. I happen to like predictable stories, and this one had all the comforts you’d expect from a loving family at Christmastime.
Merry is a kind, compassionate, maybe overly sensitive homebody who would help a stranger in a New York minute — and more than once, she did.
Jay is a good guy overwhelmed with work, and taking out his frustrations on his fellow man (and woman). When Jay starts spending more time with Merry and his friend Cooper, his eyes are opened to how his values don’t match up to his behavior.
So, in between the parts where the characters are getting to know each other and themselves, there’s a little bit of morality teaching – mostly about being compassionate. Sometimes it took me out of the story a little, but it was a nice reminder that kindness doesn’t cost me anything, and that it might mean the world to sometime on the receiving end.