Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
I’m writing this on September 7, listening to the air conditioner hum, and thinking about mistletoe and Christmas while it’s 91°F and somehow Jill Shalvis has convinced me that it’s okay.
Willa, the owner of a grooming and pet goods shop, is washing golden retriever puppies when there’s a knock at the front door and a good-looking man is standing there with a pink pet carrier. She recognizes him: Keane Winters, the boy who had stood her up for her first and only dance back in high school. His great Aunt Sally has just dumped her PITA cat on him and it’s the cat from hell. Although Willa initially refuses to take the cat, on the grounds of BECAUSE, one mew from the woebegone creature and her heart takes over.
If you are a fan of romantic comedies and love furry creatures and have somehow managed to not read a Jill Shalvis novel, you should remedy that. The Trouble with Mistletoe incorporates all of the elements. There’s witty banter with extremely likeable characters.
“How much you like this guy? he asked, his gaze scanning her clothes from his rearview mirror. “Because maybe you want to dress nicer.”
Said the guy in a grungy gray T-shirt and hair so wild and crazy it touched the roof of his car. “These are my favorite sweats,” she said.
“But they’re not getting laid sweats. They’re more like . . .birth control sweats.”
The Trouble with Mistletoe is part of the Heartbreaker Bay series and, yes, I have done it to us again. It is number 2 and I have not read number one. (Did you really think we were going to continue our string of reading the first in series? Haha!)
Willa is and is not your average romance heroine. Yes, she’s pretty and curvy, but she also seems a bit more reluctant, shall we say. I’m pretty much over the heroines who are in it just because they’ve been hearing wedding bells since they were seven. I like the heroines who have a self-identity beyond wife. Willa feels like she’s part of a community and has a family of chosen friends. She loves her shop and she has built herself from the ground up because she was part of the foster system for years and had nothing but herself. She is a great heroine for a Christmas novel because she is warmth and spirit and love, her arms and heart are always open.
Keane also falls into the group of average and not average. Yes, he’s got the hard abs and he’s handsome as all get out, but he’s introspective and seems to gain increasing self-knowledge, which is so much better than fists banging on chest arrogance that sometimes predominate in romance novels. As the youngest child, the unexpected child, his parents were professors who did not easily dole out love so he believes that he is also unable to love or feel warmth.
The relationship between Willa and Keane is fun and sexy. They might be reluctant to move beyond a one night stand, but their bodies aren’t. Oooo la la.
There are many laugh-out-loud moments. This is another book where I was almost constantly smiling while reading it. And, do you know what? Not once in the blurb does the word “hilarious” show up, yet it would be more fitting here than for those books I’ve noted where it has shown up. Go figure.
There are also poignant moments, one involving Rory, one of the “kids” that Willa has helped who now works in her shop. Rory’s not known a lot of great things in her life and thinks she’s to blame for most of them. Her scene brought tears to my eyes.
The Trouble with Mistletoe really runs the gamut of emotions: funny, sexy, sweet, sad. It’s a highly entertaining dose of Christmas cheer. Cue the eggnog.
The Trouble with Mistletoe is on sale September 27.
I received an ARC from edelweiss and Avon books in exchange for an honest review.
From Amazon: The Trouble with Mistletoe
rating: (5 out of 5 butterflies)