Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Review & Giveaway - - One Charmed Christmas

One Charmed Christmas
by Sheila Roberts
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: September 29, 2020
Reviewed by PJ

Catherine Pine is hoping her Christmas is a bit more jolly than last year’s. That one was her first without her husband, and with her kids and their families absent this year, she’s worried. But things change when her good friend invites her on a Christmas cruise to lift her spirits. Suddenly every day is an adventure and she’s making a bunch of new friends, including the lovable Sophie Miles.

It’s like a gift from Santa when Sophie and Catherine meet the charming Dr. Rudy Nichols, a perfect match for hypochondriac Sophie. But he comes with a two-legged lump of coal, his guard-dog daughter. And then there’s chocolatier Trevor March, who’s also interested in the scrumptious Sophie. Can he convince her that chocolate is the perfect cure for what ails her? Who knows what Santa has in store for these holiday travelers? Anything could happen this charmed Christmas!

PJ's Thoughts:

If you've taken a cruise, or any kind of travel tour, you know it's a bit like campus on the first day of college, with strangers coming together in tentative forays into potential friendship. Friendships that occasionally, over time, grow into more. For this festive European river cruise, Roberts has gathered an interesting collection of characters sure to stir the waters...and this reader's interest. And, just like every tour/cruise I've taken, some I want to be friends with while I'd like to toss others into the drink. That's one of the facets I most enjoy about a Sheila Roberts novel. She doesn't write perfection. She creates characters with flaws and challenges, characters like us, human and imperfect. But also, characters who grow, evolve, and learn from life's lessons. 

If you hadn't already guessed, this is a character-driven story, flowing at a pace commensurate with what I'd imagine a European river cruise might be, with fascinating stops along the way. Roberts' descriptions took me into the heart of the small, historic towns and festive Christmas markets dotting the landscape along the Rhine (a lovely gift in this time of no travel) and into the joy, fear, anger, heartache, hope, and love in the hearts and minds of her interesting cast of characters. I laughed, cringed, shed a few tears, and managed to refrain from tossing anyone overboard in my mind (though there were times I really wanted to). I actively cheered for certain characters (Trevor and Catherine, I'm talking to you), and at the end, sighed with satisfaction for lessons learned, friendships formed, hearts engaged, and family found. It was One Charmed Christmas, after all. 

Have you ever taken a river cruise? What was your favorite part?

Have you read Sheila Roberts yet? 

The German food descriptions in this book had me drooling all over my keyboard. What's your favorite holiday treat? Do you have a favorite that stems from your family's heritage?

One randomly chosen person who comments before 11:00 PM (Eastern), November 5 will receive a signed, hardback copy of One Charmed Christmas.

*Must be 18 
*U.S. only



  1. We took a river cruise for our senior prom and loved it. I am new to Shelia Roberts, and my favorite holiday treat is white chocolate peppermint bark.

  2. Taking a river cruise is on my bucket list - maybe it will happen some day in the future. My Mom always made a large variety of Christmas cookies - maybe next year when I hope to be with family again I will try to uphold that tradition.

  3. I never been on a cruise. My favorite food is fruitcake. Great review thank you

    1. I've never been able to warm up to fruitcake. And, believe me, I've tried! Do you make your own?

    2. No my Mom did years ago and hers were so good she would put a little brandy in hers. My sister makes good fruitcake

  4. Longtime Shelia Roberts fan--"The Nine Lives of Christmas" is my favorite! No cruises. I come from a fruitcake-loving family : )

  5. I've never taken a river cruise...I worry about seasickness, but I guess it should be less of an issue, right? I love Ghiradelli's peppermint bark, so I'm always happy to see it in the stores again. I also enjoy egg nog, but I can never remember the brand of the one I particularly like, lol. Lovely review, thank you for sharing!

  6. I have always wanted to take a cruise, but alas, never to be. I do think a European River Cruise would be ideal. I have a Sheila Roberts book in my TBR stack upstairs. I reckon I need to get it out and read it.

    I am a huge fan of Christmas stories. For some reason they always cheer me.

    I thank you for the review. I will look into this book, just 'cause you said I should.

    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

  7. I have never taken a river cruise, only short ones for a couple of hours which I've always enjoyed. A European one is on my bucket list - unsure when/if it will ever be possible! I haven't read Sheila Roberts before, definitely time to start by the sound of it. I love fruit mince pies at Christmas, probably because my mother made the nicest, lightest, most delicious ones I've ever tasted. Thanks for the review, the book sounds fab.

  8. I haven't taken a river cruise, yet, but I've taken cruises through the Caribbean and to Alaska. Yes, I've read Sheila Roberts before. I love making holiday treats - including fudge, bark, and cookies.

  9. I bake several varieties of biscotti for friends and family at the holidays and MY favorites are the double chocolate with chocolate chips

  10. I have never been on a cruise. Love to read Shelia Roberts books. I loved that my aunt would make Perogies and kolachkes for Christmas.

  11. I have taken a 3-hou river cruise.

    I have read Sheila's books.

    I am Pennsylvania-German on my mom's side, and we have favorite dishes which are part-American/part-German.


  12. I have not yet taken a river cruise. It is on our list and if we can ever travel again, I have a few in Europe I am considering.
    I read her BEACHSIDE BEGINNINGS and loved it. I love the way her characters grow and develop. I look forward to reading another book by her.
    I love food and to me it is an important part of any trip. You learn so much about an area and its people by what they eat. I also love exploring new foods. I don't think any of our family Christmas dishes are part of our heritage. I always look forward to my doctored variation of mincemeat pie. The cookies I always make at Christmas are also special for us.

  13. I have only taken a short river cruise in NYC. And I have read Sheila's books. Look forward to this one.

  14. I have only taken a short river cruise in NYC. And I have read Sheila's books. Look forward to this one.

  15. I haven't taken any kind of cruise! This sounds like a great read. I have several of her books on the tbr stack, but haven't gotten to them yet. Thanks for the chance to win.

  16. I have taken a family cruise to Aruba. It was awesome. I have not read this author; Thanks for the opportunity.
    Karen T. (Natty's Gma)

  17. I've never taken a cruise before but I've always thought I would like to cruise on the Mississippi River on one of the river steamboats.

    Favorite Christmas treat? Has to be the cookies. We do make traditional Lebkuchen and Spritz in our family and have for years. My daughter has taken up doing the cookie baking since I can't stand for any length of time to do that type of chore.

  18. I have taken a few European cruises with friends. Favorite Christmas treat is fruitcake and cookies.

  19. I have never been on a cruise although i am battling a disease and we are thinking of taking a alaskan cruise when this virus is done. Love to read and do review every book that i read peggy clayton

  20. I've never taken a cruise. My favorite holiday treats are shortbreads and soft ginger cookies. Sadly, I haven't read any of Sheila Roberts' books. bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com