Must Love Mistletoe is the first of Christie Ridgway’s novels this pedometer geek reader has read (and with full disclosure, this e-book was gifted to me (along with several others) by the author for joining her website), but it won’t be the last. This is the extended review.
As an aside, I have read Christie Ridgway’s Romance column in the monthly “Book Page” magazine for quite a few years without realizing she was an author in her own right. Once I realized this, I decided I wanted to read at least one of her books. Her insights into the romance genre (and her monthly picks of the Best Romance of the Month) are definitely worth reading especially if romance is a favorite type of read.
Must Love Mistletoe
By Christie Ridgway
Published by Avon Books, 2006
This novel is a contemporary romance that features not just one, but two, second-chance romances.
Bailey (yes, like George!), who claims to hate Christmas, is drawn home to take over the family store, The Christmas Present, when her mother Tracey goes off the rails after the breakdown of her second marriage to Dan. Bailey is not happy with the situation, and she is convinced she can and will get her mom back managing the store so that she can quickly return to her safe, corporate life in LA.
Bailey is not the only returnee to the city of Coronado. Her first love, bad boy Finn, is home taking care of his beloved Gram, who is gravely ill. When they meet again after ten years apart, sparks ignite despite Bailey’s fear of love and commitment. Will they stay together permanently, or is it just a quick fling to fill the days until the 25th? Until Bailey returns to her safe life; until Finn returns to his life as a cleaned-up, respectable bad boy-turned-pirate?
All the while, Tracey is in the throes of depression based on an ’empty nest’ situation. She is sure that her husband Dan is cheating on her, just like her first husband (and father to Bailey) did. But can they reconcile and find common ground based on new interests? What about the store? Will they once again work together? Or will it close its doors forever?
Two romances in one make this a unique novel, but there are a few WTT (what-the-tuck) trends seen (at least one hair-tucking incident, a few smirks, but NO green-eyed characters noted!).
There are some spicy scenes, but they are not overly graphic in this Christmas-themed tale. Each chapter is prefaced by Bailey’s Christmas notes, which are tidbits of Christmas lore. This makes for an interesting approach to the upcoming chapter. This pedometer geek reader absolutely loved Ridgway’s breezy (language) style throughout (perhaps it echoes my thoughts), but here is an example written from Bailey’s perspective:
“At thirty, Finn had developed a taste for tall fat women with hair the improbable color of a tequila sunrise. That was the problem with men—they never once realized that no real female had breasts the big or hair that red.” (page 26)