Slick’s Review – Hope at Christmas by Nancy Naigle

Hope At Christmas is a pleasant holiday romance that was easy to read and enjoyable. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures 

A recently divorced woman and her daughter look for a fresh start by moving to a small town that embraces them in ways that only fate and the magic of Christmas can explain.

Sydney Ragsdale is divorced, but her husband is still calling the shots. In an attempt to shake free from his hold, she and her daughter, Ray Anne, head for tiny Hopewell, NC to the only asset her ex has no control over – a decaying farmhouse that once belonged to her grandparents. She finds solace at The Book Bea, the bookstore she’d loved as a child during her summer stays.

Kevin MacAlea, Mac to his friends, is the local high school history teacher and baseball coach. Father of a twelve-year-old son, he’s Hopewell, North Carolina’s most sought after bachelor. His young bride abandoned him and his son just before Christmas and has never come back. It has left his son bitter about Christmas which is hard for Mac who loves the magic of the season. He’s been the Santa here in Hopewell since the year Seth was born.
But when a catastrophe forces The Book Bea to close before the end of the year, everyone in the small town is feeling the loss. While Sydney is already off-balance by the bad news, her ex-husband breaks a promise to their daughter that sends Ray Anne running away. As Sydney tries to figure out what her next steps are she discovers all of the answers are right here in Hopewell.

Hope At Christmas is a sweet holiday romance in a small town. The heroine, Sydney Ragsdale, is soon to be divorced and has moved from Atlanta to escape the hold her somewhat controlling soon to be ex-husband has on her and because her grandparents left their farmhouse and she has nowhere else for her and her daughter to live. The hero, Kevin “Mac” MacAlee, is the high school baseball coach and history teacher at the high school whose wife abandoned him and their child, Seth, years ago. They both have 10 year old children.

Sydney had a lot of self doubt after her husband cheated on her for two years prior to asking to be out of the relationship. Her daughter was against the move and wanted to stay with her dad, but her dad’s new girlfriend wasn’t totally on board with that so Sydney and RayAnne have moved to the small town where Sydney used to spend summers with her grandparents.

I liked both the main characters and honestly, the fact this was a clean romance didn’t bother me at all, it worked for this couple and their relationship. What I did have issues with, and I do realize this was an Advance Review Copy, was there were so many issues with the timeline in this story which distracted greatly from the story.

I did feel like there was a bit of manufactured drama that wasn’t necessary and the ending was a bit too fairytale easy, but it mostly worked for a light holiday read.

For me, the real star of this book was the town, the community, and the holiday traditions they’ve carried on for many years.

Hope At Christmas is a pleasant holiday romance that was easy to read and enjoyable.

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