Friday, January 15, 2021

Jenny Hale - Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

Single mother Abbey Fuller loves her family more than anything, and she doesn’t regret for a moment
having had to put her dreams of being an interior designer on hold. But with her son, Max, growing up, she jumps at the chance when a friend recommends her for a small design job. How hard can it be?
Nick Sinclair needs his house decorated in time for his family’s festive visit-and money is no object. What he doesn’t need is to be distracted from his multimillion-dollar business-even if it is Christmas.
When Abbey pulls up to the huge Sinclair mansion, she has a feeling she might be out of her depth. And when she meets the gorgeous, brooding Nicholas Sinclair, she knows that she’s in real trouble . . .
With the snow falling all around them, can Abbey make her dreams of being a designer come true? And can she help Nick to finally enjoy the magic of Christmas?

Comment: This book was gifted to me on Christmas. I had ever heard of the author so my expectations should be basic but I confess I went into it with low hopes. The fact this story was adapted to a Hallmark movie immediately told me it would be sweet and filed with Christmas cuteness but that it would also probably be a little too easily presented.

This is the story of Abbey Fuller, a nurse whose big passion is art and decoration so when the woman she takes care of indicates her name to her nephew for the decoration of his house in time for Christmas, she accepts despite her lack of experience. She is a little impressed by the size of the house and the amount of tasks to  do but she wants to try and perhaps in the future be able to work in decor even more and, thus, ensuring a better life for her and her young son Max. Her boss, Nick,is the same man who pays for her work as a nurse so she knows he is very rich but she wasn't prepared to find such a man who is so dedicated to work he seems to have no fun. As time goes by and they are forced to interact, will Abbey help Nick to see the joy of the season?

I'll say right away: this was a very boring story. It just didn't feel like it had any flavor at all besides the basics, just like I expected. I wanted to be wowed but it wasn't such a big surprise to me that nothing really out of the ordinary happened in this story.

Abbey is the heroine but she is so...basic, I don't think "one dimensional" should be the right word, but there's a certain under development for certain. I liked she was a woman who wanted the best for her son and she had things she liked doing, her tastes and preferences so I can't say she made a bad decision by accepting to decorate a house so big when she already had a job. As the plot moves on, we learn even that job might be in jeopardy, so kudos for her to try something. I think, deep down, she embodies the spirit of a good heroine: hard working, trying to make ends meet, friendly,aware of her responsibilities, a genuinely good person.

However, that's it. I don't mean to say she should be wild or making mistakes for us to see her vulnerable but her personality is very band and her attitudes down the road a bit annoying. She is a single mother, so she isn't innocent but the only physical intimacy we see her share with the hero is kissing. Nothing wrong with it either, I don't mind the so-called "clean romances", but this means the connection between the main couple has to be really well done. To me, it wasn't and Abbey acts a little unfairly towards Nick, in my opinion, after he shares his ideas for the future. She claims he was nice and treated her son well, they kissed, he made friendly gestures for her and other similar stuff. Apparently, this means he was showing his romantic interest in her. I can understand this is a way for the reader to see how things can look when to act a certain way towards someone, but please, nothing had been said, they had no sexual chemistry (I suppose on purpose because this is "clean") so why did she feel he owed her something?

Nick is the character being "rescued" from his negativity, his focus on work instead of family and the reality is he only needed a good woman and her son to bring him out of his Grinch act. I get the idea but it feels as if Nick was a little manipulated to fit what was supposed to happen and I just didn't buy the magic of the season. Christmas isn't the solution for the kind of issues Nick had but ok, this was the whole idea from the start.

I disliked how the romance developed or that I should even label what happened as a romance. Things were cheesy, fluffy and sweet but in a unproportionate way. I think it becomes too obvious what will happen, how it will happen, the situations the characters see themselves in too coincidental all the time. I can definitely see how easy it could be to adapt this to a TV movie, and this not being the author's first book adapted, I could guess it might be a very specific choice of the author.

Since I was so bored, I didn't really feel empathy towards he characters nor their plights. When the boring/conventional end comes, everyone is happy as expected but I don't feel the emotional journey they went through was really that fascinating or necessary for the story. There was nothing special about it. The epilogue was so sweet in a not so good way and I don't think I'll remember much about this in the near future except the sensation of "too much.

I don't think this author is for me.

Grade: 5/10

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