Holiday Hideout anthology is sweet and romantic, if a bit contrived. In the woods near Lake Tahoe, sociology professors Ken and Jillian Vickers own a cottage that seems to have special romantic powers. Visitors to the cottage often seem to find themselves falling in love during their stay there. In order to prove whether the cabin does indeed foster romance, the Vickers open up their cottage to lovers throughout the Christmas season and watch what unfolds there. As with any anthology, the stories are hit or miss, but two of the tales in Holiday Hideout made it worth the read.
“The Thanksgiving Fix” by Vicki Lewis Thompson – Neither
Beth Tierney nor Mac McFarland want a relationship. But when handyman Mac gets called in to fix a leak at the Vickers' cottage where Beth is spending Thanksgiving, sparks fly. Everything in this story just moved too
quickly. Within a few hours of
meeting each other, both Beth and Mac throw their previously held conceptions about
marriage right out the window.
Perhaps if this were a full-length book Thompson would have been able to
flesh out the story and add a conflict that would give the story some action outside the bedroom. Without it, though, this story ended up
being a complete dud. Grade: D+
“The Christmas Set-Up” by Jill Shalvis – This story works so well because the hero and heroine have known each other and worked together for years. Jason and Zoe have always been secretly attracted to each other, but neither has ever acted on their feelings. After they spend a Christmas Eve together snowbound in the cabin, though, their chemistry finally burns hot enough that neither can ignore it. Jason and Zoe’s relationship never felt rushed – it was just that the timing was finally right for them to take the plunge. Yes, the story glosses over some of the heavier details of Jason’s past, and it leaves the future more open than I’d have liked, but it was still an enjoyable holiday read. Rating: B+
"The New Year's Deal" by Julie Kenner – Cleo and Josh were college sweethearts until life and careers pulled them in different directions. They'd promised, though, that they'd meet up again in five years to see if they could reconnect. When they spend New Year's together at the Vickers' cabin, they both realize that they're meant to be together. I wasn't thrilled with the total turnabout the heroine took in the final pages, and I thought the resolution was a bit too slick, but I still enjoyed the story. Kenner is a new-to-me author, but I'm interested enough to seek out some of her other work. Grade: B-
Publication Date: November 1. 2011
Page Count: 317 pages
This is the first book I've completed for the Holiday Reading Challenge hosted by Stella at Book Lovers Inc. Interested in joining? Sign up here.
I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review.