There's nowhere better to spend the holidays than with New York Timesbestselling author Susan Mallery in the town of Fool's Gold, where love is always waiting to be unwrapped... Noelle Perkins just got a second chance at life, and she intends to make the most of every minute. That's why she ditched a frustrating legal career to open her own store in Fool's Gold, California. The Christmas Attic celebrates everything that's magical about her favorite season. Business is booming, and as a bonus, gorgeous army doctor Gabriel Boylan has offered to help out during the holiday rush.
Gabriel's memories of Christmas past contain more sour grapes than sugar plums, thanks to a drill sergeant father who ran his home like a boot camp. Spending the holidays with his family while he recuperates from injury sounds as appetizing as last year's eggnog. Still, there are some enjoyable distractions in town, including sunny, sexy Noelle...and the red-hot mistletoe kisses they can't stop sharing.
Gabriel didn't think he was made for happily-ever-afters. But when fate hands you a love as sweet and surprising as this, only a fool could refuse....
Hardcover, 336 pages
Four stars: A charming, romantic, cozy holiday book.
Noelle's car skitters on the ice before sliding straight into the snowbank. She has no experience with winter driving, and heading up the hill on icy roads is something she shouldn't be doing. Still someone needed to let out Felicia's puppy. Noelle couldn't refuse helping her friend Felicia. After all, Felicia has helped her so many times since she moved to Fool's Gold. Noelle quickly discovers the key isn't in its normal spot and the front door is unlocked. Noelle barges in looking for a burglar and comes face to face with the twin brother of Felicia's fiancé. Gabriel is handsome and Noelle can't seem to stop her nervous chatter. Gabriel, though a bit put off by Noelle is also drawn to her smile and he decides to drive her back downtown, as it is obvious she is a menace on the icy roads. Little does Gabriel know that this encounter with Noelle might be just what he needs. Gabriel has spent the last few years working as a doctor in the military. It is his job to try and save all the soldiers who are hit by bombs. He has closed off his heart and refuses to believe in love. Can the town of Fool's Gold convince him to believe in love again?
What I Liked:
- This is my first visit to the charming town of Fool's Gold, and I can say it won't be my last. Fool's Gold is the type of town we all would like to live. It is filled with cozy shops, friendly people, and it has a community that cares about one another. Who wouldn't want to spend time drinking a latte at the Brewhaha or poking around in the Christmas Attic? I feel in love with this cute, cozy little town, and all of its friendly inhabitants. I can't wait to visit again.
- I liked that even though this was the twelfth book in the series, I was able to pick it up and jump right in without being lost. It is obvious that the series is written as companion books and each book tells the story of a couple or person in the town and they all work together. The author does a great job of filling in the gaps and she provides plenty of details on the backstories of the secondary characters so I never felt out of place. However, I am certain if I went back and read the books, I would delight in catching up with the characters from the previous books who make an appearance in this one. I love reading a series where you can read books in any order and not feel like you are missing big pieces. So if you have wanted to try a book by this author, feel free to grab this sweet little Christmas book for the holiday. You get a complete story with no cliffhangers and a happy ending that will make you smile.
- The romance is entertaining and sweet. It starts out as an attraction, but both parties are afraid to jump in and make a commitment. Gabriel because he is unable to open his heart as he no longer believes in love, and Noelle even though she is smitten with Gabriel doesn't want to risk getting hurt if Gabriel is just going to leave after the holiday season. What follows is a dance of desire as the two try to deny their feelings. Despite outward appearances, the two may have more in common when it comes to matters of the heart, and sometimes it just takes a little faith and courage. I liked that the romance took its time to build and that it started out as a solid friendship. I loved that the romance was about second chances, healing and taking chances.
- Aside from the romance, there is another plot that deals with the relationship between Gideon, Gabriel and their father. The twin boys didn't have the happiest of childhoods as their father was a drill master who believed that the boys should be soldiers in the army and learn to follow orders no matter what. His strict behavior and lack of affection has made it difficult for the boys to have a meaningful relationship with him as adults. Instead the twins choose to avoid him, and there are often sparks of conflict when they do interact. I liked that over time, the trio learned a few things about their relationship, and that they managed to move forward in a more positive way.
- Finally, I loved that this book was packed with plenty of Christmas cheer from beginning to end. It starts out right before Thanksgiving and takes you through the frenetic holiday season in Fool's Gold. There are festivals and parties, decorating, snow storms (I loved the scene where Noelle and Gabriel get snowed in with kittens), and even a Christmas wedding. This is a holiday read that packs in plenty of holiday spirit. If you are looking for the perfect book for the holidays, I highly recommend this one.
And The Not So Much:
- While I loved the slow building romance with all of its hesitations, I disliked that in the final chapters it moves from slow and steady to lightning speed. Even though I was pleased at the resolution, I would have much preferred that it stayed at a slower more realistic pace. I thought the big decision at the end was way too sudden. It felt a little unrealistic to me.
- There is a buildup surrounding three surprise weddings with couples from previous books in the series that is set to take place on Christmas Eve. Then when the big day arrives, the wedding is glossed over and hurried and there is no depth or description. I think fans of the series might be a little disappointed in this lighting fast trio of weddings for their favorite couples.
- Noelle was a character who took some time to grow on me. At the first couple of meetings, she comes across as a bit of a chatterbox and she seems a bit empty headed. I was a bit put off by her early on. Thankfully over time, her secrets are exposed and she actually is intelligent and has depth. I was so relieved to uncover the true Noelle. Be patient with her, she may take a bit of time for you to warm up to, but she is worth it. She is actually a woman who has suffered through some hardship but she manages to maintain a bright, optimistic outlook and she is willing to take chances. She is actually a breath of fresh air.
- For those of you who prefer realistic reads, the charming, good natured community and actions of the folks in the town may be a bit over the top. I appreciated that this was cute and cozy, but at times, it does feel a little contrived and unrealistic. The mayor especially the way she seems to know everything and the way she has all the right answers. Things just seem to fall into place to create happily ever afters. This is perfect escapism reading, but if you like drama and angst in your reading, this will probably not work for you.
A Christmas on 4th Street is a delightful book to snuggle up with during the holiday season. It has a sweet romance, charming characters set against the cozy confines of Fool's Gold. It is brimming with holiday cheer and it will certainly get you in the holiday spirit. I appreciated that I was able to jump into this series without being lost. If you are looking for a pleasant read for the holidays, get this one.
"Just what every woman needed for the holidays, she thought dreamily. A man crush."
"Life is short. You have to do what you can while you have the chance."
"We are the sum of our experiences and those experiences need to come from a place of wonder and curiosity."
"I look at a sunrise and I see promise. You look at a sunrise and count the hours until sunset. Life is a gift and we need to accept it with gratitude and a full heart."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.