After twelve years spent building her career in Los Angeles, Bailey Boone returns home to Ministry, Alabama, weeks before Christmas with a large cast and crew. She’s desperate for a miracle to save her company’s big-budget holiday film that just lost its winter wonderland location.
Bailey may have bolted from Ministry before the ink on her diploma dried, but her hometown definitely knows how to throw an unforgettable southern Christmas. Except she forgot about the ghosts of Christmas past she left behind—especially her first love, Seth.
Sheriff Seth McKay never forgot the girl he let go so many years ago. They were soulmates, but he knew Bailey needed more than Ministry could offer. Now she’s back and more stunning and confident than ever.
Despite the years, their connection and chemistry still burn bright. Can Seth find his own Christmas miracle and convince Bailey to write her story in Ministry…with him?
Title: Noel, Alabama
Series: Alabama #5
Author: Susan Sands
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: October 19, 2020
Publisher: Tule Publishing
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Noel, Alabama is the fifth title in the Alabama series and this one will grab hold of your emotions and wring every little bit of Christmas joy from them quite lovingly. Bailey’s and Seth’s romance stands on its own so if you haven’t read the earlier books in the series you’ll feel quite comfortable in Ministry, Alabama. If you’re returning to this series then you’ll once again find that small-town charm, many familiar faces about town, and will quickly feel right at home once again. I would suggest the entire series for they are all wonderful stories – but if that isn’t possible, then sit back and enjoy Noel, Alabama with no worries about feeling the least bit lost.
Twelve years ago Bailey left her hometown for college and to follow her dream. Since her mother’s death, Bailey has felt constrained by her hometown for her dreams felt much larger than Ministry, Alabama. She left her father, her friends, and Seth behind as she set out to discover what was her life. Regrets? Of course, some, after all, Seth was her best friend in addition to the boy she’d come to love… but at that time the love wasn’t stronger than the need for “something else” so Bailey left and didn’t look back for more than a decade.
Today, Bailey is an assistant working on a film that has lost its winter wonderland shooting location. And she just happens to know a place that is full of Christmas charm and beauty. Ministry, Alabama… home. She’d meant to arrive, get the movie wrapped, and out of town as quickly as possible without stirring up old memories, but that’s not how things worked out.
Seth has never wanted the world beyond Ministry, Alabama. He’s happy and content as a County Sheriff right where he is in the small town of his birth, surrounded by friends, family, and the slow pace of home. He’d been heartbroken when Bailey left, but he’d always known that her dreams were too big for their hometown to hold her there. Time moved on. Now, Bailey is back home, temporarily at least, and she’s more beautiful than ever… and just as if she’d never left those old feelings came pouring back for him. Is it possible to show Bailey all she’s missed by following her dreams? Or is this just another stop on the road of life for them both, soon to fade into the past once again? He’s not sure – but he’s going to do all he can to show Bailey that they belong together right where they started.
Noel, Alabama is a slow-burn, second chance at getting love right this time around type of story that is full of small-town charm, interesting secondary characters, old-book friends, and the feeling of coming home. There are sexual tensions between Seth and Bailey, certainly, but the focus is on falling in love with the past seen through adult eyes as this couple slowly makes their way back to each other. Second chance, perhaps. But it felt more like really seeing each other as they are now, and still knowing that the love that was between them can mature into something that feels new, feels like forever.
I felt right at home with Bailey and Seth in Noel, Alabama – and certainly enjoyed this return visit very much. If you’re in the mood for a really good Romance set in a small Southern town that really knows how to bring on the Christmas spirit then this is a story that you’ll want to pick up for your holiday reading… or anytime, really.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from Tule Publishing. 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 your favorite e-reader. Mine is the Kindle.