Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Book Review: Christmas In Cupid Falls, by Holly Jacobs

Christmas In Cupid Falls
Holly Jacobs
Trade Paperback, 235 pages
Montlake Romance
October 21, 2014
Christmas Romance, Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance, Women's Fiction
Source: Amazon

Book Synopsis: Kennedy Anderson loves Cupid Falls, Pennsylvania. Ever since moving there as an orphaned teenager, she’s worked hard to carve out a place for herself in the tight-knit community. Now she’s mayor and owner of the town’s flower shop. But she also has a big secret…and nine months to figure out how to break the news to the father.

Lawyer Malcolm Carter has always been the golden boy of Cupid Falls—until he discovers the one night he spent with the girl-next-door turned out to have a lifetime of consequences. Now, the mother of his child wants nothing to do with him, and he’s gone from someone who is admired to persona non grata as the town rallies behind its mayor.

Malcom has always known what he wants. But now as Christmas approaches, he’ll have to discover a way to show Kennedy that she could find the only thing she’s ever really wanted—a true home—with him. Convincing her will take the help of Cupid Falls’ quirky residents…and a bit of holiday magic.


The cover and title of this novel certainly make it appealing! The town of Cupid Falls got its name from a local legend about the falls the town is located close to. According to this legend, any couple who visit the falls will inevitably fall in love and marry. This is a beautiful background for this story, and the Christmas setting sure adds to its charm and joy!

The plot itself is really nothing new; a one-night stand turns into something more. In this case, it results in a pregnancy before an actual relationship even starts. What makes this novel unique, though, is all the other plot elements. 

Kennedy Anderson is the mayor of Cupid Falls, where she first arrived as an orphaned teenager. (I must admit that I don't like the author's choice of first name for her female protagonist. "Kennedy" is supposed to be a last name, but, used as a first name, it would be much more appropriate for a man.) Ever since her arrival in Cupid Falls, she's been trying to belong, and is at times insecure in this regard. She also owns a flower shop inherited from her late aunt. She has given the shop the most unusual, quirky name of "Cupid's Bowquet", which one of the town's residents, Clarence (who is rather quirky himself), constantly pokes gentle fun at.

Kennedy is a very down-to-earth, hardworking person whose empathy and kindness for the town residents and their individual eccentricities make her someone very easy to get along with and relate to. She's also a very determined person, who makes it her goal to excel at both her business and her duties as town mayor. She takes the pregnancy in stride, and has plans to bring up her baby on her own. There's just one problem: the baby's father, to whom she has not yet revealed the news....

Malcolm Carter IV is a very likable character in his own right. He has his own set of insecurities, never quite winning his father's approval about anything he does, even though he has been following in Senior's footsteps by becoming a lawyer, and then getting a job in his father's firm. 

I love Malcolm! He's not only handsome, but very endearing, as well as honorable. Where another guy in his shoes might have tried to evade his parenting responsibilities by denying he was the father, or perhaps moving on with his life while comfortably sending child support payments from afar, Malcolm does what he feels is the right thing -- he immediately asks Kennedy to marry him. 

And Kennedy refuses to do so.

Malcolm is not only surprised that she has turned him down, but wonders why she would do such a thing. He strongly feels that children need both parents to be present in their lives. He doesn't want to be a long-distance dad. And he totally wants to be a more loving, emotionally-involved father than his own father was.

The whole book revolves around Malcolm trying to get Kennedy to say "yes". To his credit, he never tries to cajole or bully her into accepting his proposal. What he does do is to quietly and simply attempt to convince her with his caring, gentle attitude. What's interesting is that, at first, he's not aware that he really does care for Kennedy. He thinks he's doing everything for the baby's sake. Along the way, however, he finds himself totally falling for the mother of his child. 

I must say that I did find Kennedy's feelings about and attitude toward Malcolm just a tad unrealistic. She had had a major crush on him during her teen years, and then ended up in a one-night stand with him right after his mother passed away. According to the story, they were initially just comforting each other, until it turned into something more. No other details are provided, such as how they both reacted that fateful "morning after", how they went on with their lives, until Kennedy found out she was pregnant. All of this is simply glossed over. 

Surely Kennedy still had some feelings for Malcolm when she allowed herself to be swept away into what they apparently thought would be "just a fling". It seems that they both tried to simply sweep this event under the rug, until Kennedy's pregnancy suddenly made an appearance.  The reader never finds out exactly what happened right after their one night together, though.

I would have wanted a bit more drama related to their feelings after this event. Even considering the circumstances of their coming together, it just felt as if the situation should have been explored further. Then the rest of the story could have flowed from that.

I still found this novel very satisfying, and totally delightful! I love Christmas stories set in small towns, with their coziness, the friendly, neighborly interactions that make the whole town feel like one large family. That was certainly the case in this novel. Throw Christmas into the mix, and the whole thing is the perfect recipe for the "warm fuzzies" that we females love to feel when reading romance novels set during this most beautiful, magical season of the year.  

The secondary characters made this novel even more appealing. Nana Vancy, the lovable, dynamic, Hungarian-born founder of a dog adoption foundation, dispenses her matchmaking wisdom with comical sayings that nevertheless ring true. Clarence, whose wife has a rather unusual hobby, is an interesting character in his own right. Pap, Malcolm's beloved grandfather, might be launching a new beginning for himself, causing his grandson some consternation in the process. The two dearly love each other, though, so everything will inevitably turn out right. And then there's Malcom Carter III, who is overbearing in the extreme. He wants Malcolm with him in Pittsburgh, taking on the big cases, and doesn't seem to understand the degree of importance Malcolm is giving to Kennedy and their soon-to-be born child.

All of these elements come together beautifully to culminate in the predictable happy ending, and the journey to get there is definitely enchanting reading! Malcolm decides to pay close attention to Nana Vancy's motto, "Words have power", and this turns out to be the  big clue as to what missing ingredient there is in his courtship of Kennedy.

I love the way Kennedy slowly warmed up to Malcolm as the weeks went by. It was obvious that she was really lying to herself about her feelings for him. Being stubborn in the extreme, and fiercely independent, she resisted his efforts to court her, as this was actually what he was doing. She simply didn't want an unwanted pregnancy to be the basis of their marriage. She wanted something more....like love. And poor, bumbling, sweet Malcolm didn't have a clue! 

Adding to the whole warmhearted, festive atmosphere was the inclusion of the adopted dogs. Although I don't consider myself "a dog person", I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel, to the point that I really wish the canines had been given more prominence in the story. 

This was a great Christmas read! I recommend it highly to all fellow Christmas romance fans out there! Just get settled in front of your roaring fire (or crank up the A/C, as I have to do), and get ready for a wonderful time in the town of Cupid Falls!  


 Holly Jacobs leads a life full of romance and adventure. From skydiving to jet-setting around Europe, from snorkeling in coral reefs to writing while wearing beautiful silk peignoir sets and popping chocolate bonbons, Holly Jacobs leads a life that is the epitome of romance...

Well, my fictional life sounds more interesting, but not better than my real life. Really, I'm the happily married mother of four. I cook a lot, garden and weave baskets! I write for Montlake Romance and Harlequin. My books range from lighthearted comedies to more serious dramas and now even mysteries...but at heart, they're all stories of love.

I don't always set out to write a series of books, but seem to find myself gravitating to them. Because so many people have asked, I've posted lists of all my series in order at www.hollyjacobs.com/bookseries.html. I really try to make each story stand alone, but many of my readers enjoy reading the series in order. Hope this helps!

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