Dylan thought he knew most of the women around his age in town, but he’d never heard of River Best. He searched the crowd until he saw a petite woman walking toward the stage. Her head was down, her gait hesitant.
Without thinking, he crossed to the end of the stage. River paused at the bottom of the stairs and looked up at him. Her big green eyes were wide and filled with apprehension. She looked nervous and unsure, as if she wanted to be anywhere but here.
“It’s okay,” he said quietly. “You’ll be fine.”
“I didn’t think I’d have to stand in front of a crowd.”
“You don’t think the plastic crown is going to make up for that?”
Her gaze shot up to his head and for a second, the corners of her mouth twitched, as if she was going to smile.
“Not really.” She murmured.
“It’ll be okay. I’m right here.”
Ok, so it is no secret that I love all things Christmas, incredibly charming Christmas stories, and I will never say no to reading a book set during the Christmas season. I was particularly excited to read this book because I have heard good things about Susan’s writing. So, what better way to get acquainted with Susan’s books than starting with her latest Christmas story, Home Sweet Christmas. This book is “holly jolly” perfection, and I could not put it down. Home Sweet Christmas is perfect for those who like Hallmark movies but wish they had more depth and spice to their storylines. I felt like I was transported into the charming town of Wishing Tree and experiencing all the pre-holiday hustle and bustle. Susan does a marvellous job bringing Wishing Tree to life with lush and vivid descriptions and using secondary characters to help give the town that fun, quirky feel.
Home Sweet Christmas is two charming holiday romance stories in one. We follow Camryn and River (who are friends) as they prepare for another holiday season. Both characters aren’t really looking for love, but as I am sure you know, the universe has different plans for them. Both stories are fun and endearing and will leave you with all those warm fuzzy holiday feelings. Each story has its distinct voice, and I just love how Susan blended them together to create this one phenomenal Christmas book.
Let’s start with Camryn and Jake’s story. Their love story has more of that Hallmark feel to it. Camryn runs a gift-wrapping store, and Jake manages the local resort. Both characters are brought together because of Jake’s meddling mother, who has come up with a plan to find her son a wife, aka Project: Jake’s Bride. There are lots of fun and delightful moments in Camryn and Jake’s story that will put a smile on your face. I enjoyed these two together as a couple. There is this easy banter between them, and underneath that banter is a sizzling attraction. Don’t think that because their story is more Hallmark in nature, there isn’t depth to their characters. Camryn and Jake’s backstories are complex, and their past problems give their characters a sense of realism.
River and Dylan’s story was my favourite, and that is because I just adored River. All the characters in this book are very Hallmark-y in nature; you have a cabinet maker (Dylan), a gift wrapper (Camryn), and a resort manager (Jake). Don’t get me wrong, I love all the characters in this book, but what makes River’s character stand out for me is her un-Hallmarkiness. River is a hacker/cyber guru and is adorable and awkward. River is first introduced to us while helping the cops find a little girl her uncle kidnapped. She uses her cyber skills to look into the uncle’s online history to help locate the missing girl. I was completely hooked on her character and couldn’t wait to see what Susan had in store for her. River’s interactions with Dylan are so wonderfully awkward and just cute. She really has no filter, and there is this social awkwardness that just makes her character so endearing. Dylan is a real sweetheart, and he really could make a girl swoon. I just couldn’t get enough of these two and loved every moment they were together.
Home Sweet Christmas has all that Hallmark charm with just a dash of naughtiness.