MAMA DATED SANTA by Amy R. Anguish
GENRE: Contemporary/Christmas Romance (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Scrivenings Press
RELEASE DATE: October 17, 2023
Trudy McNamara doesn’t do Christmas anymore. But she will do anything for her nephew Mark, even take him to visit Santa. After Dad died and the holiday bucket lists stopped, December hasn’t been the same. But Trudy finds herself tangled up with the toy store Santa and Christmas when she discovers her mom … dated Santa.
Nick Russo, manager of Russos’ Toy Emporium, is at a loss as to how to save his family’s store. When Uncle Paul, the Santa and part-owner, hires Trudy to revamp their store, Nick’s life turns upside down. He’s been so focused on the numbers, the Christmas season has become nothing more than one last drive for sales. But Trudy makes him re-evaluate his attitude as well as want to help hers.
Can two holiday-haters renew their love for the season … and more?
Mama Dated Santa by Amy R. Anguish is a sweet Christmas romance that hit me in all the feels. I experienced a range of emotions – lots of smiles, a few chuckles, and a couple of moments where I came close to bawling in solidarity with Trudy’s continued grief over the loss of her dad. I saw a lot of myself in her character, even though we’re also very different in many ways. But I absolutely related to her mixed emotions around Christmas, especially as her dad (and mine) passed away just before the holiday. Don’t get me wrong though – this isn’t a heavy read at all. It just hit me more emotionally than it will most readers because my heart is still so tender toward those who are also grieving the loss of a beloved Daddy. The author deftly captures this bittersweet blend of sorrow and joy with sensitivity and grace, while also reminding readers that – while grief shouldn’t be ignored or rushed – it’s imperative to continue living.
Mama Dated Santa is incredibly sweet and full of joyous moments as Trudy helps transform Nick’s family’s toy store into a place that people want to shop in again. In her philosophy, if anything should be fun, it should be a toy store – especially at Christmas – and I loved seeing her ideas come to life on the page. Her interactions with Nick had me doing everything from grinning like a kid at … well… Christmas (lol) to chuckling at loud at their differences (and the way Nick brings out the otherwise absent klutz in Trudy), and swooning at their kisses. Her reminding him how to have fun is truly entertaining, and I also enjoyed the antics of his hair (you’ll have to read it for yourself to discover what I’m talking about). Most of all, I loved how Trudy’s work at the store unexpectedly changes all of their lives – hers, Nick’s, her mom’s, and even “Santa’s”, not to mention the store itself.
Bottom Line: If you’re a fan of stories with a Hallmark-movie vibe, Mama Dated Santa by Amy R. Anguish is the perfect choice for your next read! I could easily see this storyline fitting right in with a future ‘Miracles of Christmas’ lineup, but of course the book will always be better. The author crafts layered characters that capture your heart and compelling stories that keep you fully invested in the outcome, and Trudy & Nick are no exception. I enjoyed my time with these characters and the small town Christmas vibes, and I thought the themes of grief and joy were beautifully woven into the plot. Mama Dated Santa is a must-read for fans of touching stories of hope and heart during the holidays.
(I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that I read via Kindle Unlimited. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion
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