“Holiday Wishes” by Jill Shalvis

November 9, 2017 Book Reviews 2 ★★★

“Holiday Wishes” by Jill ShalvisHoliday Wishes Series: Heartbreaker Bay #4.5
on November 7, 2017
Pages: 128
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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Also in this series: One Snowy Night, Chasing Chrismas Eve, About That Kiss, Hot Winter Nights, Playing for Keeps

It’s Christmastime again in Heartbreaker Bay!

When Sean O’Riley shows up at the Hartford Bed & Breakfast for his older brother’s bachelor weekend, he’s just hoping to make it through the weekend. What he’s not expecting is to come face to face with the woman he lost his virginity to a decade ago—a woman he’s never really forgotten.

The last time Lotti Hartford saw Sean, she told him she loved him while he said nothing. Now, ten years later, she’s just looking for a good time. For once, she wants to be the wild and free one, and Sean – the good time guy – is the perfect candidate.

But as the weekend continues, Sean realizes that after a lifetime of being the hook-up king, he’s ready to find happily-ever-after, and he wants it with Lotti. But will she open her heart to him again? As Christmas sweeps through the little B&B, he can only hope love and magic are in the air.

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

This book contains mature content and may not be suitable for younger readers.


Short but cute.

Shorter than a novella, longer than a short story, this novelette takes place during the weekend of Pru and Finn’s wedding (Sweet Little Lies.) Sean, serving as his older brother Finn’s best man, unexpectedly runs into the one who got away…or more accurately, the one he walked away from: his high school sweetheart, Lotti. She is less than happy to see him. Clearly, neither of them ever really got over the other. And Sean is quick to realize that he’d like a second chance.

Sean is appealing in this story, a former bad boy who has matured into a good and caring man. He’s a much better match for Lotti now than he was at 16. Lotti is harder to get a handle on; her dominant trait, by her own admission, is that she’s “emotionally unavailable,” unwilling to risk her heart…and it’s difficult in such a short story to get much sense of who she is beyond that characteristic. But I enjoyed seeing them work out their differences and give each other a second chance.

In fact, the shortness of this story is my biggest complaint against it.* I would have liked a bit more exploration of who these two people are (particularly Lotti, since we do get a good sense of Sean), and a better understanding of what draws them together beyond their high-school history and an undeniable physical attraction. And due to the short-story format, Pru and Finn’s actual wedding gets shortchanged, which is a pity. I realize that the wedding itself wasn’t relevant to Sean and Lotti’s relationship, but it could have been…and the scene’s inclusion would have been a lovely bonus for fans of the series.

The story takes place shortly before Christmas, but that’s about the only “holiday” thing about it. Which is fine—just don’t let the title fool you! But it’s a cute read, and fans will enjoy seeing Sean, who has been relegated to the far background since the first book, get his own HEA.


*My other complaint is Shalvis’s occasional use of crude language in a steamy scene.



About Jill Shalvis

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website, www.jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • HoHoHo Readathon 2017

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