MARRY CHRISTMAS by Jaycee Weaver, Teresa Tysinger, Cathe Swanson & Chautona Havig
SERIES: Christmas Lights Collection 2023
GENRE: Contemporary/Christmas Romance (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Havilah Press Publications
RELEASE DATE: October 24, 2023
‘Tis the season to be married!
Join the Christmas Lights Collection authors as the merriment of Christmas and romance of weddings come together in four unforgettable love stories.
Alessia has no patience for handsome charmers, plus she’s busy enough directing activities for a retirement community. But when an octogenarian couple announces their day-after-Christmas wedding, she can’t refuse the help of Mr. Charming himself, Danger Stevens, no matter how badly she’d like to.
Thanks to family, meddling retirees, and a little forced proximity, the pair’s perceptions are challenged as their chemistry builds. With all the holiday hijinks, Alessia’s finding it hard to fight the urge to meet Dan under the mistletoe.
Chelsea Macintosh loves spending the holiday season at the cozy mountain cabin that her family has co-owned with the Reynolds family for two decades. When Owen Reynolds, her childhood friend and first heartbreak, unexpectedly returns for the festivities, she guards herself from being hurt again.
Back in Spruce Ridge after four years away, Owen must confront the memories of his own shattered heart he endured at the cabin. When their parents announce plans to sell the cabin, Owen and Chelsea are thrust into planning the wedding of Chelsea’s sister and her fiancé who wish to be married at the beloved family retreat while they still can.
A second chance at love blooms amidst the rekindling of old friendships and a flurry of Christmas merriment!
Aspiring social media influencer Lindy Sutton didn’t know what she was getting into when her great-aunt convinced her to promote Golden Valley’s new conference center as a wedding venue. The rural Montana town is dying, and if splashing an absurd rodeo princess dream wedding all over the internet will help save it, Lindy will give it a shot. It might be ridiculous, or it might go viral!
Sheriff Wyatt West knows they need to bring in money and jobs, but when a vivacious city girl comes blazing into town with her overpriced coffee and camera in hand, can you blame him for resisting her crazy ideas?
But when someone tries to sabotage their project, they must team up to identify the culprits. Who knew that the meeting of their minds would spark a meeting of the lips?
She lost her job, she’s been installed as an ad-hock wedding planner, and then there’s that guy who doesn’t like her. Christmas is gonna be great this year.
Crystal Steele comes to New Cheltenham to help with a friend’s wedding. It was supposed to be simple stuff. Address a few invitations, find some décor pieces. Easy peasy. But one disaster after another strikes and leaves her redoing everything and at the last minute.
Owner of 221-B and purveyor of all things Sherlock, Lewis Chambers has his own stresses with a niece he didn’t know existed needing a home and now can’t figure out what Crystal is up to, and he can’t figure out why he’s drawn to someone who may be trying to bust up a friend’s wedding!
A heartwarming, faith steeped Christmas romance in New Cheltenham.
I laughed (a lot). I swooned (a lot). I cried (a little). And I finished the last page feeling all cozy and Christmasy, my reader heart fully satisfied and uplifted. I’m talking, of course, about Marry Christmas, the new Christmas Lights Collection of novellas by Jaycee Weaver, Teresa Tysinger, Cathe Swanson, and Chautona Havig. Each author brings her own style & flair to the theme which this year is all about weddings. But not exactly the way you might think…
Jaycee Weaver’s Can’t Fight the Mistletoe had me snort-laughing from start to finish, though I did my share of swooning and sweet-moment-melting too. Her alternating (between Dan & Alessia) first person POVs allow us to get into the characters’ heads – and hearts – and more often than not their internal monologues present us with pure romcom gold. (Note: Dan’s interactions with septuagenarian Silas are the main choking hazards when it comes to laughing while taking a sip of my Diet Coke – “The accidental peepshow last week burned a hole in my retinas that may never heal.” – but every page is fair game for a hilarious line or ten.) There’s also plenty of great banter and chemistry (and kisses!) between Dan & Alessia and a tender wedding subplot that had my heart. A sweet & sassy forced proximity romcom with a bit of enemies-to-lovers too!
In Teresa Tysinger’s The Last Mountain Christmas, I had to keep reminding myself to breathe with all the longing between Chelsea and Owen and their almost-tangible chemistry. Not to mention the swirl of mixed emotions they’re navigating for reasons other than their own increasing feelings for one another. The almost-kisses nearly killed me (I’m being overly dramatic… but only just), but the wait is well worth it. This was probably my favorite of the wedding scenes in this collection because… ohhhhhh I really want to tell you why but I don’t want to spoil it for you. Just know that if you’re grinning like a fool and wiping away a few ‘romance-loving’ tears by the end of that scene, you’re not alone. This best-friends-to-more story is best read with your favorite Christmas mug… Bonus points if you made it yourself!
Hashtag Hitched at Christmas by Cathe Swanson is delightfully cozy in every way. I loved Lindy & Wyatt’s interactions, along with the tongue-in-cheek humor that accompanies them. I especially appreciated the look at the inner workings of an influencer and the way the author gives value to Lindy’s job but also keeps it real. Watching Lindy & Wyatt fall in love is sweet & swoony, from their meet-cute to their happily-ever-after, and their relationship will definitely bring a smile to your heart. Lindy’s aunt is a hoot and stole nearly every scene in which she appeared. I really enjoyed chuckling at her commentary and machinations, but I also loved the very multi-generational cast overall. I hope we see some more stories set in Golden Valley – I think there is a lot of potential for more characters to have their chance in the spotlight, and I think the town proper, the new events center, and the ghost town all have lots of tales left to tell.
Chautona Havig’s The Lights of New Cheltenham closes out the collection with a heartwarming followup to her novella The Hearts of New Cheltenham, but it can be read as a standalone if needed. I fell in love with Lewis and his endearing awkwardness, not to mention his protectiveness over his friends and his tender care of his displaced (and adorable) niece. His journey of prayer really touched me, and it’s something I’ll be incorporating into my own daily rhythms. Crystal felt immediately like a friend – or at least someone I could easily befriend if she weren’t a fictional character – and I found her interactions with Lucy and Lewis to be so genuine and heartfelt. The parenthetical asides to the narrative are hilarious and had me chuckling often. I also fell in love with the community of New Cheltenham and its Midwestern nods to an English village. I definitely want more visits there, so I’ll be catching up on this series post haste!
Bottom Line: Four sweet romance novels plus four different authors means a variety of styles and tropes to enjoy when you read the Marry Christmas collection. We are also treated to a range of fun settings – an assisted living facility in New Mexico, a mountain cabin in North Carolina, a small town in need of help in Montana, and a mock-British village in the Midwest. I could see each one of these stories becoming a Hallmarkesque movie, as long as they got to keep the spiritual threads that made each one meaningful as well as entertaining. Be prepared to laugh and swoon and grin – and maybe even shed a few tears – as you make your way through this collection full of great characters and delightful stories of love at Christmas!
(I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book which I read via Kindle Unlimited. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4.5 stars / loved it!
KissingBook Level: 3+ / will forget to breathe on occasion
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What about you? What makes you want to read Marry Christmas by Jaycee Weaver, Teresa Tysinger, Cathe Swanson & Chautona Havig?