Hartford is full of small-town Christmas traditions and Gaby Bryant puts herself in the center of all of them. She loves Christmas and she loves things that stay the same. She spends most of the season engaged in one project after another, all intended to squeeze joy and beauty into the holiday. The fact that her friend Owen only reluctantly joins her preparations somehow adds to her fun.
But this year Owen has a project of his own. He wants to convince Gaby that not all change is bad and that if she’d stop thinking of him as “only” a friend, Christmas could be a whole lot merrier.
My source for book: Review CopyMy Thoughts:
I'm a sucker for a cute Christmas story, and while it's true they're a dime a dozen, this one is better than most of what's out there. It has a cute factor that's fun, but it's not over the top cheesy like many are. It stays grounded with the humorous realistic scenarios that are mixed in, such as Owen's extreme aversion to glittery decorations. (I have an Uncle who is even worse about glitter!)
I really liked the apartment building setting, with Gaby and Owen being next door neighbors on their floor. Their habit of often eating or watching tv together in the evenings was cute, and it really displayed the closeness of their friendship. Of course the "friends-turning-into-something-more" angle is fairly common, but it's one that I like and never get tired of--providing it's done well. This one is pretty good, and it's actually better than many I've recently read. Though they both wonder about the other's feelings, they don't spend pages and pages obsessively analyzing things. (Yay!) The sneaky Christmas-themed test that one of them comes up with to test the other's feelings is really cute and creative, and surprisingly the scene didn't turn out at all like I expected.
Overall, Gaby's love of all things Christmas is pretty fun, and I was quite amused how she continually tried to sneak Christmas decorations into Owen's decoration-free apartment. Though I do think I liked the other books in the Hartford series slightly better, I still enjoyed this one and was sad to leave the characters when the (neatly wrapped up) end came. Though it's part of a series, it stands alone perfectly fine. It's really a cute Christmas romance, and very clean as well. I'm glad to have read it, and I can easily recommend it if you're looking for a cute and clean Christmas story.
My Rating: 4 stars
Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.