With twinkling humor and heartfelt Christmas spirit, two friends find love in a town called Wishing Tree…
Until Camryn Neff can return to her “real” life in Chicago, she’s in Wishing Tree to care for her twin sisters. She’s not looking for forever love, not here. But handsome hotelier Jake Crane is a temptation she can’t resist, so she suggests they pair up for the season. No golden rings, no broken hearts. At his side, she sees her hometown through Christmas-colored eyes. The cheer is cheerier, the joy more joyful. She thought she had put her future on hold…but maybe her real life was here all along, waiting for her to come home.
New in town, River Best is charmed by Wishing Tree’s homespun traditions and warmhearted people. When she’s crowned Snow Queen, she’s honored but wary. Dylan Tucker, her king, seems like the stuff of sugarplum dreams, but she can’t shake the feeling that he’s hiding something big. As they perform their “royal” duties—tasting cookies, lighting trees—Dylan’s good humor and melty kisses draw her to the brink of love. But she can’t let herself fall until she uncovers his secret, even if her lack of faith means losing him forever.
Mallery's first Wishing Tree book, The Christmas Wedding Guest, (9/28/21) planted the seed but this year's installment, Home Sweet Christmas, sealed the deal. Wishing Tree is where I want to spend my Christmas holidays and I plan to show up for all the activities!
I love the community Mallery creates in this book, with the fun traditions, quirky locals, a meddling mama, joyful holiday spirit, and complicated relationships. In this book, she gives us two couples to follow. I found both relationships equally compelling and engaging. Her characters are so realistic...and relatable. These are complex, multi-layered individuals with strengths, weaknesses, baggage to overcome, and flaws just like the rest of us. They could be my friends or neighbors and, honestly, I'd like them to be. Well, maybe all of them except Jake's meddling, matchmaking, take-charge mother. Her heart may be in the right place but that woman scares me.
Though there are two heart-tugging romances along with a supporting cast, Mallery weaves all of them together into a smoothly-flowing story while still giving each individual character room to evolve. I enjoyed the various relationships that play out along with the romances. Camryn's relationship with her younger sisters is poignant and complex, with a growth arc that touched my heart. I also love the twins' relationship with Jake. And then there's the abandoned pup who, let's face it, steals everyone's hearts, including mine. There are great female friendships and a spot-on friend/chosen family relationship between Jake and Dylan that was one of my favorite parts of the book.
If you're looking for a heartwarming, hopeful, holiday romance with engaging characters, emotional depth, plenty of humor, family dynamics, self-reflection, and two happily-ever-after couples, all wrapped up with a festive bow, give yourself the gift of Susan Mallery's Home Sweet Christmas. It's a happy holiday delight.
Though a few characters from the first Wishing Tree book appear in Home Sweet Christmas, both books can be enjoyed on their own without having read the other. If you haven't read The Christmas Wedding Guest yet, check out my 5-star review here.
Have you read Susan Mallery?
Do you enjoy books with more than one main couple?
Have you read any holiday romances set in a fictional location you'd love to visit?
One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, October 12 will receive a print copy of Home Sweet Christmas.