This is a fun Christmas novella by Jennifer Sienes in the Apple Hill series. I would recommend reading Surrendered (first book in the series) first to get acquainted with some of the characters who play pivotal roles in this story. Filled with down-to-earth characters, real life situations, and buoyed by an overarching theme of reconciliation, this novella brings home the warmth of Christmas.
The writing and dialogue are clever and witty as Julia and Marty’s friendship unfolds in first person narrative. Julia, as a neurotic single mom, is totally relatable as she hovers over her son Max. Her faith prompting her for connection with her parents, her ex-husband, and his mother is admirable. Marty is quite lovable in his sweet quirkiness. His “sayings” are hilarious and memorable. Despite his previously failed romance, Marty still tirelessly pursues Julia with romance and practicality, which is absolutely endearing. I loved how Tess and Jake returned in this book as the main characters’ best friends; their interactions with Julia and Marty are truly delightful. The natural progression of Julia and Marty’s relationship is believable and heart-warming. Julia’s son Max plays a great role in the book and acts as the bond between the main and secondary characters. The author has a way about her writing that brings together the everyday events of life into sharper focus and weaves a naturally flowing tale of redemption and reconciliation.
Anyone who enjoys contemporary romance or women’s fiction will absolutely love this novella of hope and joy set during the marvel of the Christmas season.