Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Book Review: The Christmas Wish, by Nora Roberts


The Christmas Wish
Nora Roberts
Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Silhouette Books
October 18, 2016
Christmas Romance, Contemporary Romance
Source: Barnes & Noble bookstore

Synopsis: Fall for romance this holiday season…

All I Want For Christmas
Identical twin boys Zeke and Zack! only want one gift from Santa this year: a new wife for their lonely single dad, Mac Taylor, a builder who fixes things up in their small town. But convincing their love-wary dad that their music teacher, Nell Davis, is not only part of Santa's plan, but Mac's soul mate, isn't quite as easy as they'd hoped…

First Impressions
When Vance Banning moves to rural Maryland, all he wants is peace, quiet and to keep away from women. The last thing he needs is his outspoken—yet infuriatingly sexy—neighbor, Shane Abbott, getting into his business. But he has no idea how determined Shane is when it comes to giving a helping hand—or a loving heart.



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29361023-the-christmas-wish?ac=1&from_search=true





This is actually a re-issue of two Roberts Christmas romances, collected in one volume. One was first published in 1984, and the other in 1994.

The first book, All I Want for Christmas, is a very cute story. Some readers might consider it cheesy, but I LOVED it!! The twin boys are very realistically portrayed, and are not 'overly adorable'. The whole setup is just perfectly 'Christmasy' and totally heartwarming! It's true that this adjective has been overdone in reviews of Christmas-themed novels, but I honestly can't think of another that fits this novel more perfectly. Besides, isn't that what Christmas romances are supposed to do -- give you those warm, fuzzy feelings? These boys just stole my heart!

The adults in the story were just as perfectly portrayed. Mac Taylor, the boys' father, still carries the emotional burden of a failed first marriage, and, thus, is not eager to open his heart to another woman. Nell Davis, their town's new music teacher, has issues of her own, although she proves to be more willing than Mac to trust that love will bring her happiness. 

I loved reading about how Nell motivated the kids at her school to get involved in the choir, even encouraging some of them to enter the state championship. Her enthusiasm was so contagious! Of course, their Christmas concert that year was a great success!

As for Mac, I was totally enchanted by him! His love and concern for his twin boys is so wonderful! Far from considering them an annoyance -- as some parents unfortunately consider their kids to be -- he was always involved in their lives, and was a very loving father. 

Luckily, Nell loved children, too. She and the boys soon became friends, and from there, she grew to love them. The feeling was definitely mutual!

This story is about what Christmas represents -- love, family closeness, and the spirit of giving. Also important is living every minute of Life with gusto! 

I wholeheartedly give this book FIVE stars!!

As for the second book, First Impressions, the story is definitely for adults. There are no children involved. After reading the first book, I did miss them, as I love children. But I was soon drawn into this second story, which I loved just as much! 

Shane Abbott is the sort of wonderful heroine that makes me wish I could change places with her! She hasn't exactly had a wonderful life, though, as her mother is a narcissistic actress who has never been interested in her daughter. Thus, Shane was brought up by her grandmother, whom she dearly loves. Although she's a very feisty, independent-minded woman, Shane is also a very loving, giving, outgoing person. This becomes very evident at several points in the story.

Vance Banning, as described by Roberts, is every red-blooded woman's picture of the sexy, brooding romantic hero who nevertheless has a kind heart. Because underneath the thick armor that makes him come across like a misanthrope, Vance does indeed operate from sincerity and a willingness to give. It's just that he, like Mac, has been burned, so he's not exactly open to any new romantic relationships. Until he meets Shane, that is! 

I love the way Roberts handled the gradual buildup of this relationship. The pace was just right -- not too fast, not too slow. The fact that both protagonists also had goals for themselves beyond the relationship not only helped the whole plot to be more realistic, but also established each of these characters as persons in their own right, without leaning too much on each other. 

I am only too happy to give First Impressions FIVE stars, as well!

Although I recently finished reading both of these books, they left such a warm glow inside, I feel like going back and reading them all over again! And I really don't care if other reviewers have criticized these novels as being too predictable. Heck, ALL romance novels are predictable, because we know that the all-important HEA is coming! What makes all of these books such wonderful, page-turning reads is the road the lovers take to that happily-ever-after, with all its twists and turns!

Both of these novels, brought together in this special edition, are the sort of thing that will make any Christmas romance fan just bubble over with happiness! These stories are sure to bring you moments of delight and the need to keep reading until you finish the very last page, even if you do know how everything will end!!


MY RATING:





Nora Roberts was born in Silver Spring, Maryland. She began writing when a blizzard in February 1979 kept her in her hilltop home with a three and six-year-old for nearly a week of canceled kindergarten and dwindling chocolate supplies.

During the now-famous blizzard, she pulled out a pencil and notebook and began to write a story for her own entertainment. From the first page, she knew it was what she was meant to do. Several manuscripts and rejections later, Irish Thoroughbred was published by Silhouette in 1981.

The Liar, published in April, 2015 by Putnam, is her 214th book. She hit the NY Times Bestseller list in 1991. Every book since 1999 has made that list.

Recently The New Yorker called her “America’s favorite novelist."

In 1995, she began writing a police procedural series featuring Eve Dallas, a NYC homicide cop, and set in the near future, under the J.D. Robb pseudonym. Devoted in Death, out in September 2015, is the 41st entry in the series.



 






4 comments:

  1. I may not be in the Xmas spirit just yet, but a good story is still a good story :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Verushka!

      Hey, if you're not in the Christmas spirit yet, I guarantee that this book will get you there! These are WONDERFUL stories!

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting!! <3 :)

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  2. These both sound like wonderful stories. Christmas is meant for cheesy romances. :-) I haven't had a chance to dive into any of my Christmas books yet. Hopefully soon. I have been so busy at work and then have that book I am reading for work while at home. It's not exactly exciting, I'm afraid. Anyway, I need a good Christmas book soon.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Wendy!

      Oh, they sure are!!! And I'm SO glad you agree that Christmas is meant for cheesy romances!! Lol. I totally agree! I'm a HUGE sucker for HEAs, but especially at Christmastime! Romance just seems to go perfectly with this holiday!

      I hope you can get into your Christmas books very soon. There's nothing I enjoy more than diving into one of these romance novels at this time of year. I wish I could be sitting by a roaring fire, drinking my hot chocolate, as the snow falls gently outside.....lol. But I have to be content with reading them here in my South Florida condo, in my reading nook, with the A/C at full blast, while temps outside go into the 80s.... Oh, well....

      I hate having to read certain books for work purposes! Several years ago, we were given free copies of "Who Moved My Cheese?" and were expected to read and comment on this book with other teachers, during faculty meetings. UGH. I HATE this book with a passion!! First off, this book is geared to corporate settings. We're teachers, not corporate drones. Yes, we teach adults part-time, but we don't dance to the corporate rat race tune. Second, even then, this book is horribly demeaning to workers, whether they kiss butt and collect brownie points, or not. Needless to say, I got rid of it ASAP!! Lol. hope the book you have to read is less painful to get through. :)

      Since you say you need a good Christmas book soon, let me recommend "The Christmas Wish"! I know you'll love it!!

      Thanks for swinging by and leaving such a lovely comment!! <3 :)

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