Reviewed by ShellyThis is a first from both publisher and author for me so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but oh, what a pleasant surprise! I can’t remember when I’ve cried so much reading a story.
Looking for a fresh start for herself and her daughter Holly, Regan Martin moves to the wine country of Napa Valley. A long time coming, she’s finally getting back on her feet with a good job and a place to call home when she runs into Gabe DeLuca, the man who for the last six years, has stopped her from financially supporting her daughter. What a jerk right? And that’s exactly what I thought.
Regan is a third generation single mom. She got pregnant during a relationship with who she thought was a single man. She was raised without her father and until she found out that her child’s father was a married, cheating, bastard (too harsh? – nah) she didn’t think that would happen to her. By 19, she had already been through a lot - teenage pregnancy and her Mom’s death. While not letting any of her past mistakes define her future, Regan proves herself to be a good mother and provider to her daughter. She’s put everything that her mother taught her about survival into action.
When she meets Gabe for the second time in six years, Regan is just floored and knows that he’s going to do what he’s done in the past: either get her fired or make it so that every interview she has turns bad. He’s got her so wound up that she unconsciously sabotages her own interviews. But after getting fired yet again, Regan lands a job at Gabe’s younger brother Marco’s hotel as a cleaning lady. There's a connection here between Regan and her mom that just tore me up and along with the that, the reason why she gets the job is pretty underhanded.
While she’s in town, Regan meets a few of the town folks including Gabe’s grandmother ChiChi and a few of her friends better known as the Mrs. Clauses. These ladies were meddlesome, nurturing and became true friends to Regan; fun stuff there. There are others including Jordan, Gabe’s slightly-crazy-right-hand woman who’s got her hands full keeping her teenage daughter from Mr. Sex with Wheels – totally hilarious and laugh-out-loud moments. Then there’s Isabel, you know that one person in town who think she’s the sh*t – I couldn’t stand her. I can’t leave out Gabe’s brothers, Nathaniel and Trey, can’t wait for their and Marco’s stories (at least I hope so); and of course Abigail. The innocent and vulnerable Abigail – after six years it’s time to grow up, Abigail. But I digress.
Regan and Gabe really light up the pages. There were moments I’m crying because Regan has convinced herself that she can’t have a life outside of being a mother and my heart just goes out to her because of her background and what she’s willing to sacrifice so her daughter had both a good childhood and a good home. There were moments I wanted to reach out and snatch Gabe bald because of what he’s done to both Regan by conscious thoughts and actions and what he’s taken away from Holly by those same actions. But in the end, I just wanted these two to be together and talk about what they each wanted from the other and work it out. The ending was a little rushed for me but that did not in any way take away from the good time I had reading this book.
I really liked this story. It was filled with heartache, broken dreams, lost love, forgiveness and redemption that completely tugged my heartstrings. I thought Adair did a fabulous job and I’ll definitely read more of her work (the sooner the better – I might have mentioned that already).
Happy reading folks!
*Book provided by author for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
Kissing Under the Mistletoeby Marina AdairRelease Date: October 16, 2012Publisher: Montlake Romance