Top critical review
A Hallmark Movie in a book
Reviewed in the United States on October 14, 2020
Lila Evans has had a hard time in life; her mom died when she was a baby and she lost her dad at 20; she followed a guy to Nashville who cheated on her and she hates her waitressing job. She does have on bright spot; a close-knit group of girlfriends, and this group of ladies love Christmas; they take a trip together over Christmas every year. This year is different, the three other women are starting to move on to their next adventures, so Lila is determined to make this vacation the best on yet. She books a cabin at Fireside Cabins in Pinewood Hills, a small-town with tons of Christmas activities nearby. But after they arrive, nothing is quite as they expected; the cabins are a bit run down, the handsome but standoffish coffee-shop owner is rude and distant and the the ladies start having to bail on the vacation one-by-one. Lila, always seeing the best in everything, starts to form a bond with the cabin owner and the coffeeshop owner, and decides to stay in Pinewood Hills to see what's next; or at least to see the Christmas season through.
This book reminded me a lot of a Hallmark movie. There was an idyllic town setting, a lovely older woman to befriend, mishaps and unexpected changes in plans, a grumpy coffee shop owner, charming townsfolk, and a little bit of mystery and intrigue. Also like many Hallmark movies, it wasn't necessarily an award winning product, but you wanted to see it through and it made you feel warm and happy throughout. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't wished I could escape to Fireside Cabins for a pre-Christmas retreat; it sounds like a lovely place to get into the holiday spirit. At times, the plot seemed to have pacing problems, not much happened for the first half of the book and then all of a sudden, a lot of things would happen all at once and very quickly. This being said, if you're looking for that warm, happy feeling a Christmas book or movie can bring you, this is a book you might consider adding to your list. I give it three stars.
I received an ARC from Bookouture from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.