This was such a lovely story. I thoroughly enjoyed it and devoured it quickly. My only real complaint was that it was too short and I would have loved to have read more about the main characters.
It has a sad beginning when Mark’s sister dies and he is given custody of his six-year old niece, Holly. As a bachelor, he doesn’t know the first thing about children, but moves in with his brother, Sam, and does his best to raise the grieving little girl. Then one morning he finds her letter to Santa:
I want just one thing this year
Plese don’t forget I live in friday harbor now.
Cue Mark’s decision to try and find himself a wife. The relationship between Mark and his niece Holly is warm and tender. Never really believing in or understanding love until Holly arrived in his life, it has changed Mark’s whole perspective. Then we have toy shop owner and young widow Maggie. Slightly quirky, ever so caring and bruised from her loss. The instant crackle between her and Mark captured me immediately.
The story is as much about connection and family as it is about romance and I found myself becoming swept up as I watched Mark and Maggie’s journey unfold. It was a gentle, slow builder and I relished every delicious moment of it.
As well as the romance, another aspect of the book that was really entertaining was watching how the two brothers adapted to raising a little girl by themselves. There was also a part of the book I would have liked fleshed out more. Time skipped ahead on several occasions, I would have liked to see them bringing her home, how they coped with her on that very first night they had her, and more depth into the growing relationship and feelings they experienced.
On top of this, the ending felt a little short and hurried. Even another chapter would have made a real difference to me. But these are really just small niggles, because overall I thought the story was great and Kleypas’ writing style is smooth and easy, and left me feeling all cosy inside.
If you’re looking for a short, sweet Christmas read then look no further. You really can’t go wrong with Christmas Eve at Friday Harbour. It’s got all the ingredients a feel good, seasonal story should have. Plus it’s the start of a new contemporary series from Kleypas, which I’m looking forward to delving into. I’ve already received book two for review, and I can’t wait to pick it up and read Sam’s story.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- Christmas Eve At Friday Harbour
- Rainshadow Road
- Dream Lake
- Crystal Grove
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