Nicholas Klaus is a master pastry chef, a strict disciplinarian, and the eldest son of the legendary Santa Claus. One look at café owner Lucy Brewster sends him into an unexpected tailspin of lusty desires.
When Lucy is injured, Nicholas makes a decision that catapults both of their lives into turmoil ....
Lucy Brewster, the free-spirited proprietor of Sweet Inspiration, has a flair for concocting sugary confections but no time for adventure. She gets more than she bargained for when she awakens in the North Pole...rambunctious elves, a fitness-obsessed Santa, and the man of her dreams. Does she have what it takes to become the next Mrs. Klaus?
Comment: To finish the TBR Challenge year, the usual is for the participants to have a Holiday Read and I'm sure most readers choose or think about choosing a Christmas story. I just think it's more appropriate and maybe easier, and we can always pick other holiday reads for the rest of the year. Somehow, on Christmas it feels more suitable to read a book about Christmas or set on Christmas time...
In this book we have a sweet story about a young woman and Santa Klaus' older son.
Santa is not what most people are used to but he does live in North Pole in a magical place that happens to be controlled by elfin magic. The elves are the real magical side of Christmas and the Santa Klaus family is just the face of it.
Nicholas is the older of 5 sons Santa has and, by tradition, he will take over Santa duties at some point but the problem is that Nicholas is a pastry chef and he doesn't really feel inclined to become Santa but knows it's what is expected of him.
Lucy is a human young woman in New York who owns a bakery. Her delicacies are very much appreciated and that also catches Nicholas' attention so they meet because he visits her store. But will they be able to be together since they come from so different places?
I knew about this book (and series) practically an year ago because someone I know read this book and recommended it. I added to my TBR and I confess it seemed a good candidate for this month's theme, so this time around I started the book with good expectations.
Overall, this ended up being a sweet story as one would imagine considering the themes but when I think about the little details, the pile starts to pile up because no matter how good my suspension of belief - and I have no problems with fantasy - some things just weren't as easy to accept as I imagined. Or, at least, that was my personal impression and the reason why I couldn't enjoy it a bit more.
The plot is very simple and basically revolves around Nicholas need to meet Lucy and when something happens to her, he takes her to his home against the "rules". Although the how Lucy ends up in the North Pole isn't that unlikely to buy - magic is involved of course - the relationship between the two just didn't strike me as believable within the context presented.
Nicholas takes weeks to finally approach Lucy while sampling her work at her bakery. Lucy, apparently, has always taken notice of Nicholas but never felt like talking to him either. But from the moment they finally exchange words until the end of that day they are already having sex and thinking about forever even if not getting together. I can accept attraction and recognition but love in such a short amount of time...I can't understand why authors can't easily write things in a way that would encompass a bigger passage of time, it would be so simple.
While in the North Pole, and despite her efforts to have her bakery, all her commitment, Lucy rarely thinks about it and immediately is accepted by the elves (well, most of them) and Nicholas' family. Some scenes/situations related to this were fun and sweet to read about. However, again things happen quite quickly, Nicholas and Lucy are thinking about forever but two main issues - Nicholas' lack of will to become Santa and Lucy's fear she might be the reason he won't try harder - are interesting obstacles to overcome.
Sadly for my appreciation of the story, the solution for this is preceded by one of those "I'm selfless and a martyr" moments that while I don't fully dislike, wasn't done well here, I think.
There are many cute and adorable things, I liked some elves, I liked the world created by the author, the imaginary of Santa and things related to him and Christmas were quite interesting and refreshing to read about. It was also delicious to have conversations about cookies and pastries and sweets, considering both Nicholas and Lucy were owners of bakeries.
The explanations for some things were fantasy but so charming that I didn't mind them. Yet, I wasn't sold on some ideas regarding Lucy and Nicholas a couple nor as individuals that must deal with a new situation. I especially didn't like Lucy that much, she was a good person but I didn't see any specific quality in her that endeared her to me, that made her as special as the son of Santa is.
All things considered, this was an entertaining novel, the richness of the imagination of the author is obvious but the execution of what happens around the fictional and fantasy parts wasn't likewise balanced or well thought, I'd say, in order for it to look seamless and as magical as it could.
I still would like to read he story of one of the other brothers (not all seem equally intriguing for me) but I don't think it's a priority right now. Maybe next Christmas.