I have a soft spot for Happily Inc. books, as my introduction to Susan Mallery was this series. Happily This Christmas is a fine addition to the series, with the bonus of a Christmas setting
Single mom Wynn Beauchene lives next door to Garrick McCabe, the local police chief. Both have shied away from serious relationships because of events in their pasts. Garrick's 21 year old married, pregnant daughter is coming to visit, and while the two are estranged, Garrick desperately wants to reconnect with his daughter. He turns to Wynn for advice on decorating his house and how to warm things up with his daughter. That's not the only relationship that warms up!
Of course there are problems along the way for both Garrick and his daughter as well as Garrick and Wynn. Romance novels often have a final hurdle for the couple to overcome. Here, Garrick says the wrong thing to Wynn, but what I found unlikely is that he couldn't figure out what he said wrong. This bone-headed statement comes from Garrick, who as police chief instantly analyzes, understands the problem, and gives sage advice to one of his deputies who brings a marital problem to Garrick. The same Garrick who takes a week to figure out what he said wrong to Wynn!
One beautiful homage to service members comes when one of Garrick's daughter Joylynn' friends from the Marine base is marrying a fellow Marine, and the Happily Inc. community pitches in to give the couple an amazing wedding. The five co-best men are all real Marines, who shared with Ms. Mallery (and she shared with fans last year) how her books helped them thru their deployment in the Middle East. She honored these five Marines by including them in the book. Semper Fi!
Despite my concern with Garrick's lack of awareness, this is an amazing book, perfect for the holidays. Highly recommended!