Two books ago I broke up with this series. Obviously I have no willpower because the minute I saw this one on NetGalley I requested it. The reason I wanted to read it was because the heroine was actually the one redeeming part of what I call the book with the goats of doom. I’m happy to say that this one wasn’t awful.
Evie Stryker is the estranged half-sister of the brothers that were the leads of the past three books in the series. The reason she’s estranged is because their mother had an affair just after the boys’ father died and she was the result. The mother never loved her and she was mostly cast aside and ignored. She grew up alone and with a lot of resentment and when she left home, she never came back.
But now, she had an injury that forces her to spend time in Fool’s Gold and interact with her family. She’s not too excited about it, but at least she has the distraction of the hot lawyer who works at the same building where she teaches dance. They soon get involved even though he’s not a commitment guy (he has mommy issues and a dark past). But of course, it’s Christmas and miracles happen.
This was an entertaining story that brought memories of the early books in the series. It’s less complicated than the rest of the books, and I see it more like an extra. If you don’t read it, you won’t miss much, but still it’s worth the try. It also ties some loose ends, mostly because it resolves the heroine’s subplot that ran throughout the series. Well, I’m not sure if that is indeed the case because I only read the first book, but I assume it does because she was fine at the end of Summer Days.
There was nothing new about the romance, it was absolutely predictable and I’ve read that story many times before. It was sweet, though, and there was great chemistry between the leads. We get to see some of the characters from past books, but their presence wasn’t overbearing or forced. And overall I’m satisfied with the love story.
What I hated was the mother. What a despicable character. She was already useless and ridiculous in the first book, but this one takes it to the extreme. What a terrible mother, the heroine is the only one who sees this, yet the Christmas spirit and the rules of the HEA force her to forgive her. I say no! Dear Heroine, take your blackened heart and tell your mother to go choke on a goat or something. Just no.
So there you have it. It’s a cute, enjoyable book. I would recommend this one to fans of the series and of light small town contemporaries, as long as they are willing to pay $9.99 for 300 pages of predictable fluff (what’s up with that price?). I’m not judging, though, I would totally buy it so go for it. I complain a lot, but I always come back for more.
Review by Brie
The unrelenting cheer in Fool's Gold, California, is bringing out the humbug in dancer Evie Stryker. She learned early on that Christmas miracles don't happen, at least not for her. And this year seems like no exception. An injury has forced her to return to the family fold, no matter that they're estranged. She won't add to the awkward scenario by being seduced by the bad-boy charms of her brother's best friend, the last man she should ever want to date. Even when she's recruited to stage the Fool's Gold winter festival, she vows to do as promised, then move forward with her life anywhere but here. Jaded lawyer Dante Jefferson is getting used to the backwater town he now reluctantly calls home, but the pounding of little dancers' feet above his temporary office is more than any man should have to take! When he confronts their gorgeous teacher, he's unprepared for the attraction that sears him down to the soul. Evie is his best friend's sister--off-limits unless he's willing to risk his heart. Dante has always believed that love is the most dangerous force in the universe, but that was before he had to reckon with the magic of a certain small town, where miracles do seem to happen....
Harlequin HQN. September 25, 2012.