Sydney Ragsdale is divorced, but her husband is still calling the shots. In an attempt to shake free from his hold, she and her daughter, Ray Anne, head for tiny Hopewell, NC to the only asset her ex has no control over – a decaying farmhouse that once belonged to her grandparents. She finds solace at The Book Bea, the bookstore she’d loved as a child during her summer stays.
Kevin MacAlea, Mac to his friends, is the local high school history teacher and baseball coach. Father of a twelve-year-old son, he’s Hopewell, North Carolina’s most sought after bachelor. His young bride abandoned him and his son just before Christmas and has never come back. It has left his son bitter about Christmas which is hard for Mac who loves the magic of the season. He’s been the Santa here in Hopewell since the year Seth was born.
But when a catastrophe forces The Book Bea to close before the end of the year, everyone in the small town is feeling the loss. While Sydney is already off-balance by the bad news, her ex-husband breaks a promise to their daughter that sends Ray Anne running away. As Sydney tries to figure out what her next steps are she discovers all of the answers are right here in Hopewell.
Title: Hope at Christmas
Author: Nancy Naigle
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Christmas Romance
Published: October 10, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
My Rating: 4 stars
Hope at Christmas is one of those stories that I believe would be good in any season it was set in – yet it’s a bit more poignant, a touch more heart warming with the magic of Christmas as, in a way, one of the characters in this romance.
Both Sydney and Mac are adults with one child each. Both know the disappointment of their partner not being who they thought they’d be for a lifetime. Yet, Mac has had a bit more time to adjust to his son’s mother leaving them. Sydney and Ray Anne are in the early stages of that grief and incomprehension that comes when your man cheats on you, and your father cannot, or rather will not keep his promises to his daughter. Sydney is trying to restart their lives in the one place her soon to be ex cannot touch, the inherited farmhouse that her grandparents left to her. A place that holds good memories, a chance to catch her breath and hopefully begin a new chapter of life with her daughter, a new home, and a new job starting soon. Sydney is drawn to the local bookstore, The Book Bea, within its walls she finds the missing magic from her life. So when a part time job is offered, she’s more than happy to spend it here.
It’s easy to get caught up in Hope at Christmas. A romance that offers a slice of real life for so many people, it’s a slow burn romance that develops at its own pace. Sure there is angst, kid rebellion, a close call as well as an ex that deserves every bad thing that comes his way. Yet there is also a feeling of more to come, that Sydney, Mac, Ray Anne and Seth are starting a journey that will grow stronger and better over time. Full of interesting secondary characters, an inviting small town and a chance at happiness for two people who didn’t expect to find that again. It’s one of those stories that will make your heart smile. And that’s why I read Romance.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
Available for the Kindle