Fiona McCrae and Ben Campbell have known each other forever, it seems. She’s had a crush on Ben since she was a little girl and he was her brother’s best friend. Of course, he never thought of her as anything but a pest back then and teasingly called her Fireplug Fi because she was short and not exactly heavy, but sturdy, shall we say? And Ben was too busy crushing on Fiona’ s sister, Hannah, to notice Fiona at all back then.
Now Fi is all grown up and even though she’s still short, the sturdiness has definitely turned to curves. When she moves home to Blueberry Cove, Maine, leaving her thriving design business in Manhattan, she finds herself helping plan Hannah’s Christmas wedding in less than two months. Fiona has no idea that Ben is in nearby Snowflake Bay running his parents’ Christmas tree farm because they moved south for his father’s health. So when she runs into Ben at her family’s home, it’s a complete and mortifying surprise as her scarf tangles in her hair and she can’t get her coat undone when she’d have much preferred to look cool and put together in front of him.
Ben’s still teasing her like they were kids and still thinks of himself as her big brother’s friend. And when he unwittingly hurts her feelings with his teasing, he feels terrible that his words caused her real pain and tries to make things right between them. Later, when he sees her in a particularly clingy sweater, he finds himself tongue-tied and realizes that Fi is all grown up now. It seems that wherever Fiona goes, a series of mishaps follow and Ben begins to find being with her a true delight. And Fiona couldn’t be happier that her childhood crush has finally noticed her!
Both Fiona and Ben are wonderfully developed, likeable characters and you can’t help but root for them to work things out. But Ben’s landscape design business is in Rhode Island and he’s not sure what he’s going to do with his parents’ tree farm so that he can still continue to run his business and keep the people who work for him employed. And how can he find out if he and Fi could have a lasting relationship if she stays in Blueberry Cove and he has to eventually return to Rhode Island?
This is such a witty and well-paced book for the Christmas season and there are lots of fun and poignant moments with all the McCraes. So grab yourself a cup of tea or a glass of wine, a cozy throw, curl up in a comfy chair and enjoy!
I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.
There’s no place like seaside Blueberry Cove, Maine, at Christmas—and there’s nothing like a wedding, the warmth of the holidays, and an old crush, to create the perfect new start…
Interior designer Fiona McCrae has left fast-paced Manhattan to move back home to peaceful Blueberry Cove. But she’s barely arrived before she’s hooked into planning her big sister Hannah’s Christmas wedding—in less than seven weeks. The last thing she needs is for her first love, Ben Campbell, to return to neighboring Snowflake Bay…
As kids, Fiona was the bratty little sister Ben mercilessly teased—while pining after Hannah. But Fi never once thought of Ben like a brother. And that hasn’t changed. Except Fi is all grown up. Will Ben notice her now? More importantly, with her life in a jumble, should he? Or might the romance of the occasion, the spirit of the season, and the gifts of time ignite a long-held flame for many Christmases to come…
Something old might just become something new…
Donna Kauffman has seen her books reviewed in venues ranging from Kirkus
Reviews and Library Journal to Entertainment Weekly and Cosmopolitan. She lives
just outside of DC in the lovely Virginia countryside, where she is presently
trying to makeover her newly empty nest into something that doesn’t have to
accommodate piles of sports equipment falling out of her coat closet (okay, out
of every closet…and under every bed….), size 13 cleats and sweaty uniforms
cluttering her foyer (and stairwell, and laundry room, and…), and a kitchen
that should have come with a traffic light. And a pantry monitor. (Anyone with
a clever idea on how to repurpose lacrosse sticks into matching reading lamps,
she’s all ears!) When she’s not stripping paint, varnishing an old auction
house find, or trying to avoid bodily injury with her latest power tool
purchase, she loves to hear from readers!
My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars
Ever since they were teenagers, there was incredible heat between Darcy Cochrane and Beck Rivera. He wanted to be a firefighter like his foster dad, Sean Dempsey, and she was an heiress in Chicago. And since Beck knew nothing could come of their attraction, he told her he didn’t feel anything for her so that she’d move on to a better life. And too bad if his heart hurt just at the look of betrayal in her eyes.
But Darcy wasn’t interested in her father’s lifestyle and wounded beyond belief by Beck’s declaration, she left town and traveled the world, learning her art from some fabulous tattoo artists. She’s back in the city and meeting her friend for a drink when they run into Beck at a local bar and she finds he realized his dream of becoming a firefighter after all.
And when he’s obviously still attracted to her, she decides that maybe one night before she leaves him will give him a taste of his own medicine. But she finds that’s not really possible when the fire still burns so brightly between them.
This is a cute little novella that precedes the other books in the Hot in Chicago series. It’s short and sweet and a quick holiday read with a nice HEA. And who better to accompany this review than Elvis? 😉