Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jerjen
Iris Nelson has returned to Cavanaugh Island after an abusive marriage. She works in a bakery, her speciality being baking cakes. She dreams of opening her own cake shop and hopes to someday make this dream a reality. She has plans with her friend, Tracy, to go out for drinks and let off some steam. When Tracy has to back out of the plans, Iris decides to go to Ladies Night by herself. She’s hoping to find Mr. Tonight because she is getting lonely being single. She has not fully recovered from her abusive marriage but she realizes she needs to try and meet new people and move on with her life.
Collier Ward is back in Cavanaugh Island on a holiday leave from the military. He is there to surprise his sister and niece and spend some much needed family time with them. He is suffering from PTSD and he is hoping that being with family will help relieve some of the stress he is experiencing. When he accidently runs into Iris at the club, he thinks that the holiday break will be much more interesting and fun.
Iris and Collier feel an instant attraction to each other but are reluctant to pursue a relationship. Collier knows that he will be leaving after the holidays to return to the military for two more years and Iris is afraid of trusting another man after the abuse she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband. The more time they spend together, the harder it is for them to deny their feelings. Will a little holiday magic happen and things work out for them, or will they each go their separate ways after the holidays?
The writing style flows easily and this book is a very easy read. Rochelle Alers is a very descriptive writer and I could feel the small town setting with all the quirkiness as though I was there. Reading about the holiday traditions that the Island participate in made the area come alive for me. I love reading about small town traditions and the activities that they plan and it makes me wish I was there to take an active part in the festivities.
The Gullah culture was described well and there are many recipes included from that culture and area. At the beginning of each chapter there is a recipe for food or drink that is mentioned in the chapter. I really like this and there are some recipes I want to try. There is a lot of history concerning the area and the culture which I found very interesting.
The characters are well developed and well rounded. There is a strong sense of family ties and bonding in the book and I really enjoyed that. The characters seem very real to me and are people I would like to meet and hang out with.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well written romance. I may not let a young adult read it because there was some steaminess included, but it was not too over the top. This is the second book that I have read in the Cavanaugh Island series and I enjoyed them both. It is getting close to the holidays and this is a great novella to read to help you get into the holiday spirit.