Published by HQN Books on October 6, 2020
Source: the publisher via NetGalley
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From the USA TODAY bestselling author of The Christmas Sisters comes this sparkling tale of Christmas redemption. Brimming with Sarah Morgan’s trademark festive cheer, you won’t want to miss it!
For sisters Samantha and Ella Mitchell, Christmas is their most precious time of the year—a time for togetherness, love and celebration. Most of all, it’s about making up for everything their childhood Christmases lacked. But this year, they’ll be buying presents for the most unexpected guest of all—their estranged mother. It’s been five years since they last saw each other. But when their mom calls out of the blue and promises that this Christmas will be different, Samantha and Ella cautiously agree to spend it all together…
Gayle Mitchell is at the top of her career, but her success has come at a price—her relationship with her daughters. She never seemed to say or do the right things. Her tough-love approach was designed to make them stronger, but instead managed to push them away…until a brush with her own mortality forces Gayle to make amends. As the snowflakes fall on their first family celebration in years, the Mitchell women must learn that sometimes facing up to the past is all you need to heal your heart…
I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
YES to every single holiday book written by Sarah Morgan!! She’s very firmly my favorite for festive holiday stories with great character relationships. This story reminds me of a cross between Sleigh Bells in the Snow and A Wedding in December, both of which are previous holiday titles by Ms. Morgan.
This time the story features Gayle and her two grown daughters, Samantha and Ella. Gayle has been estranged from her daughters for the last few years. This year is different, though: they’ll all be spending Christmas together for the first time since the girls were young. Samantha’s job is what has allowed for this holiday spent together. She owns a company that specializes in finding luxury vacations for wealthy families. Since she has to go check out the location of this resort in rural Scotland, the entire family is tagging along to try out the amenities offered on the property.
Ok, first of all: Ms. Morgan’s settings are fantastic. Top notch, every time. This story is set at a family’s private-estate-turned-resort up in a snowy, forested, sort-of remote place in Scotland. I loved the scenes out in the forest when the characters found their very own perfect Christmas tree. And all of the snow made the book feel very wintry and festive. I never have snow at my house, so I really love snowy settings.
I felt surprisingly connected to Gayle and her daughters because of some awkward, complicated relationships within my own family. The feelings that Samantha and Ella felt were plausible and felt very real, so the hard work that they all had to put in to move beyond their estrangement was something that I could totally appreciate. Even while the family dynamics were at play, there is a sweet relationship that develops in the story and I loved it. The romance worked really well to break up some of the more serious family scenes scattered throughout the story.
I adored the secondary characters too: the family that owns the property is written so perfectly. The matriarch of that family, Mary, is precious.
Sarah Morgan’s holiday stories are literally the thing that I look forward to most about Christmas. I know that she will always deliver stories full of heart and warmth, full of the Christmas season. Her holiday stories are 100% comfort reads for me and I’m always impatient for her next story to release. ALSO: her holiday stories are the books that I reread most in my life.