A Fool’s Gold Christmas, by Susan Mallery (review)

December 4, 2013 Book Reviews 3 ★★★★

A Fool’s Gold Christmas, by Susan Mallery (review)A Fool's Gold Christmas by Susan Mallery
Series: Fool's Gold #9.5
Published by HQN Books on Sept. 18, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: the publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
Also in this series: Three Little Words, Christmas on 4th Street, When We Met, Before We Kiss, Until We Touch, Yours for Christmas, Hold Me, Kiss Me, Thrill Me, Marry Me at Christmas, Best of My Love
Also by this author: Three Little Words, Christmas on 4th Street, When We Met, Before We Kiss, Until We Touch, Yours for Christmas, Hold Me, Kiss Me, Thrill Me, Marry Me at Christmas, Best of My Love, The Ladies' Man

The cheer in Fool's Gold, California, is bringing out the humbug in dancer Evie Stryker. An injury has forced her to return home to her estranged family. So she won't add to the awkward scenario by falling for the charms of her brother's best friend, no matter how tempting he is. When she's recruited to stage the winter festival, she vows to do as promised, then move on, anywhere but here.

Jaded lawyer Dante Jefferson is getting used to the town he now calls home, but the pounding of little dancers' feet above his office is more than he can take. When he confronts their gorgeous teacher, he's unprepared for their searing attraction. Evie is his best friend's sister—off-limits unless he's willing to risk his heart. Dante has always believed that love is dangerous, but that was before he had to reckon with the magic of a certain small town, where miracles do seem to happen….

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Review

I really enjoyed this holiday Fool’s Gold story!  Evie is a wonderful character: caring, dedicated, and doggedly independent, with a lot of emotional pain that she’s not quite ready to let go of.  Dante carries his own load of pain and guilt, which has made him swear off long-term relationships.  The book is a romance, so it’s a foregone conclusion that the two will eventually learn to accept and embrace their feelings for each other; the fun is in seeing it happen.  In Evie’s case, though, it’s not just her feelings for Dante that she has to accept; somehow, she has to be willing to forgive and start over with her family.  Mallery does a great job of portraying Evie’s contradictory feelings and ambivalence about her family, and her mother in particular.  And although resolution of Dante and Evie’s relationship is perhaps a little sudden, it’s delightfully romantic.

Evie is wonderful with her young students, patient with the awkward ones and determined not to let them down, despite the fact that she never expected to end up in charge of the production. As a former ‘dance mom’ who spent many years watching and helping with the annual Nutcracker at my daughter’s studio, I really enjoyed the dance studio scenes and would have liked more of them.

But it’s not just the annual “Winter King” dance performance, which Evie is singlehandedly in charge of staging, that makes this a holiday novel.  The entire town of Fool’s Gold goes all out for Christmas, with a parade, a tree-lighting festival, and even an event at Evie’s brother’s ranch, complete with hay rides, elves, a petting zoo, and an elephant in holiday attire.  It’s an eclectic and sometimes amusing mix, but the spirit of warmth, cooperation, and acceptance that pervades the town shines through, making this a very satisfying Christmas romance.

four-stars

About Susan Mallery

With more than 25 million books sold worldwide, New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans.

Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived.

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