Review By Veronica

Bright Lights, Big Christmas is sure to fill you with holiday cheer.

Favourite Quote:

Kerry Clare Tolliver couldn’t remember a time when the smell of a Fraser fir tree didn’t make her smile.

Tollivers had been growing this particular variety of Christmas tree, in this particular patch of farmland in the mountains of western North Carolina, for four generations.

But today, standing in front of the flatbed trailer loaded with hundreds of freshly cut and baled fragrant firs, she wanted to cry. 

“Mama, please don’t ask me to do this,” she whispered.

Her mother wrapped an arm around Kerry’s shoulders. “I’m sorry, honey, but there’s nobody else. Your daddy is coming home from the hospital tomorrow, and somebody’s got to be there to make sure he eats and takes his meds and gets his sorry butt up to do physical therapy. Like it or not that somebody is me.” 

Goodreads Synopsis: 

When fall rolls around, it’s time for Kerry Tolliver to leave her family’s Christmas tree farm in the mountains of North Carolina for the wilds of New York City to help her gruff older brother & his dog, Queenie, sell the trees at the family stand on a corner in Greenwich Village. Sharing a tiny vintage camper and experiencing Manhattan for the first time, Kerry’s ready to try to carve out a new corner for herself.

In the weeks leading into Christmas, Kerry quickly becomes close with the charming neighbors who live near their stand. When an elderly neighbor goes missing, Kerry will need to combine her country know-how with her newly acquired New York knowledge to protect the new friends she’s come to think of as family,

And complicating everything is Patrick, a single dad raising his adorable, dragon-loving son Austin on this quirky block. Kerry and Patrick’s chemistry is undeniable, but what chance does this holiday romance really have?

Mary Kay Andrews really is a master at her craft. She knows how to capture her audience’s attention and ensure they are in for one heck of a reading experience. I fell in love with Mary Kay’s previous Christmas book, The Santa Suit, so when I heard she had a new Christmas book coming out I knew I needed to get my mittens on it. Bright Lights, Big Christmas takes place in the same world that The Santa Suit did, but it does read as a stand alone. Fans of the previous book will love the small update Mary Kay has thrown in with regard to what Ivy and Ezra (the main characters from the previous book) have been up to since their book. It was just a sweet nod to the lovely couple. 

Bright Lights, Big Christmas takes readers to this little community in New York City. The story follows Kerry, who feels a little lost in life. She lost her job and her boyfriend and finds herself living back at home with her mom. Her family runs a Christmas tree farm, and they always travel to New York City to sell their trees during the holiday season. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Kerry finds herself travelling with her brother to the Big Apple to help sell their family trees. Kerry hasn’t been involved in the family business since she was a child, and it takes a bit for her to get into the swing of things. Not to mention, her brother Murphy is not the easiest person to live with. But as Kerry spends more time in this little community, she begins to feel like she found where she belongs. I adore New York City, and visiting the city during the holiday season is on my bucket list. So, this book was right up my alley. New York comes to life in this book, and it felt like I was there with Kerry while she sold Christmas trees and interacted with all the, shall we say, quirky community members. As this story progresses, there is this growing sense of found family. Kerry and Murphy find themselves immersed in this ragtag group of people who support each other through thick and thin. I adored the sense of togetherness that this book has. It really sends this message you don’t have to be blood-related to be considered family. 

The overall story is fun and charming. It has a wonderful pace and is a quick, easy read. It does ooze those Christmas vibes, and I just loved the story’s uniqueness. I loved the secondary characters in this book. They added so much richness to the story and helped to move the plot along. Kerry is a wonderful character. Even though she is down on her luck, she still can be compassionate and kind to those around her. I loved watching her find her place in this little community and her family’s tree lot. She has this knack for creating beautiful things, and it is wonderful to see her passion rekindled when it comes to her own art. 

Now, for those who like their Christmas books to have a bit of romance in them. You will be happy to hear that there is a love story between Kerry and local New Yorker Patrick. The romance definitely isn’t front and center in this book, but it is there. There is this sweetness to the growing relationship between Kerry and Patrick that is sure to melt your heart. 

Bright Lights, Big Christmas is a heartwarming Christmas story about the importance of found family.