The Christmas Village
by Annie Rains
Somerset Lake - Book 2
Release Date: October 12, 2021
Reviewed by PJ
When Lucy Hannigan returned to her childhood home in Somerset Lake, one of the first things she did was join the local book club. And thank goodness, because now that Lucy’s first Christmas without her mother is bearing down upon her, she can use all the help and support she can get. Especially when she has to take in a tenant and the only person interested is Miles Bruno, her ex-fiance.
Lucy’s friends keep teasing her about the way Miles is trying to make up for his mistakes but forgiving and forgetting isn’t coming easily to Lucy. With bills piling up and her mother’s finances in disarray, however, Lucy isn’t in any position to say no.
As the small town prepares for the holidays and competition heats up in the Merriest Lawn decorating contest, Lucy can’t help feeling like a Scrooge. Her mom loved the holidays and won the contest each year, but as much as Lucy would like to carry on the tradition, she isn’t sure she has it in her to deck the halls this holiday.
Yet when Miles shows up with tons of tinsel, dozens of decorations, and lots and lots of lights, Lucy begins to wonder if maybe the spirit of the season will finally mend her broken heart.
One of the things I most enjoy about Annie Rains is the sense of community she creates within each of her series while also writing each book in such a way that it can be read as a standalone. For fans of the series, there are overlapping characters and continuations that are sure to delight but at the same time new readers are able to jump in with any book in the series without feeling lost.
This second book in Rains' new Somerset Lake series features Lucy, a midwife who returned home a year ago to nurse her mother through a final illness and Miles, her first love who is also the man who shattered her young heart. Will life give them a second chance to get it right?
I love a second chance romance and this one sure tugs at the heartstrings. Both Lucy and Miles are dealing with personal issues, including but not limited to the implosion of their relationship several years earlier. I enjoyed the journey the author took them on, slowly rebuilding their friendship, and trust, then carefully guiding them into deeper feelings. I also enjoyed the inclusion of the book club women as well as the kids from the youth center. They added another dimension to both main characters. Lucy and Miles are both complex characters who evolve quite a bit throughout their journey. I found their growth to be realistic and believable, speed bumps and all. By the end of the book, I was firmly in their corner and cheering on their happy ending.
Readers who enjoy dogs, cats, strong friendships, community involvement, a bit of a mystery, and second chances with your first love will want to add The Christmas Village to their holiday reading list.
CW: Death of a parent, grief