No Ordinary Christmas
by Belle Calhoune
Release Date: September 28, 2021
Reviewed by PJ
Mistletoe, Maine, is buzzing and not just because Christmas is around the corner! Dante West, local cutie-turned-Hollywood hunk, is returning home to make his next movie. Everyone in town is excited . . . except librarian Lucy Marshall. When Dante took off for LA without warning—or even a goodbye—he broke Lucy’s heart. She swore not to spend one more minute thinking about her ex, but Dante makes an offer Lucy’s struggling library can’t refuse: a major donation to film on-site.
Dante is thrilled to help boost his hometown’s economy and finally begin making amends to the people he hurt years ago when he left, starting with Lucy. But seeing his former best friend on set every day feels a lot less like closure and more like a fresh start. It’s one thing for Dante to fall for Lucy all over again, quite another for a famous movie star and a small-town librarian to find lasting romance. Can the magic of the holiday season give Lucy and Dante’s first love a second chance?
I feel like I should be sipping hot chocolate and listening to Christmas carols while writing this review. Belle Calhoune's No Ordinary Christmas immersed me in all the holiday cheer and tradition of the small Maine town of Mistletoe and the second-chance story of town librarian, Lucy and hometown boy made good, Dante. You all know by now that I enjoy a second-chance romance and this one comes with all kinds of delicious complications to keep me engaged in the story and invested in the potential of a happily ever after. Though, I do have to say, I had no idea how Calhoune was going to pull it off considering the lingering hurt and mistrust from Lucy and Dante's past, not to mention the logistics of the present. But she did, and in a realistic, heartwarming fashion that had me cheering for the happy couple and shedding more than a few tears of joy.
What she has created is a sweet, thoughtful, and deeply emotional story that played out across my mind like one of my favorite Hallmark holiday movies. Her descriptions brought Mistletoe to life, with it's festive town square, Christmas tree farms, beloved library, and holiday fair. Then there are the citizens of Mistletoe. She's created a diverse community of intriguing characters with interesting back stories who are all but begging for books of their own. I enjoyed the various threads that wove in and out of Lucy and Dante's story, the family dynamics, life-long friendships, and romantic entanglements that added a richness to the overall story. I especially enjoyed Tess, Lucy's 10-year-old sister. I do hope we'll be seeing more of her as the series continues. She's a sweetheart of a scene stealer and I adored her.
This was my first book by Belle Calhoune. It sure won't be the last. If you're a fan of upbeat (closed-door) Christmas romances with humor, heart, diverse characters, and hard-won happy endings, give No Ordinary Christmas a try. I enthusiastically recommend it.