Carolyn (Book Chick City)'s Reviews > The First Love Cookie Club

The First Love Cookie Club by Lori Wilde
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Guest reviewed by Zosia for Book Chick City

The cosy Christmas scene on the cover tells you quite a bit about what to expect. You have to be in a particular (as in, hugely festive) mood to get the most out of this book! It turned out I was feeling rather festive, so I enjoyed the book quite a bit; though I did some skim reading when we got to the scenes with the interfering old biddies and the magical baking!

The First Love Cookie Club opens with one of the most painful, embarrassing scenes I’ve ever come across in a book – with an awkward adolescent Sarah declaring her love for Travis at his wedding to another woman. She makes a bigger fool of herself in front of the entire town than I could ever believe it possible for one person to do. There’re actually a few scenes like that throughout the book; I was covering my eyes in embarrassment for her a few times! Luckily Travis sees things differently, and though he screws up once or twice, he comes through in the end. It’s nice when the man wants the relationship and is the one putting his heart on the line. Usually it’s the woman who has to convince the man they should be together.

The “I didn’t realise how much I hated the city until this perfect, Brady Bunch little town showed me how wonderful life is when you while away the days playing Betty Crocker” theme is so popular these days, and this is one of those books. Like so many of them, it takes place in Texas. Again, I was in the right mood to enjoy it, but I can see how some people are going to find this story a little on the mawkish side.

However, every time I started to worry the sweetness was going too far, the author moved on to something more serious and more grounded. Travis’ daughter is extremely ill – it’s not known if she’ll survive. Sarah has scars of her own – emotional scars, but also a serious injury we learn more about as the story unfolds. I was worried at the start; a cute little sick kid with a Christmas wish was bound to give us those Hallmark moments. I should have had more faith in the author because she didn’t go that route.

For the most part I enjoyed the book. What I liked best was the immediate connection I felt with Sarah – she was a character I understood and sympathised with. Though I’m generally no fan of children in books, Travis and his relationship with his daughter Jasmine worked for me just fine.

Every so often I became annoyed by the dialogue. Travis and Sarah would converse for a page or two at a time with one-liners, and I lost track of which person was saying what. I also didn’t like the way Sarah’s face was continually described as having ‘salmon-coloured lips’.

Weirder still was the love scene. There’re things I don’t appreciate in scenes like this – such as references to beds banging walls or lines like, “He was totally into her”. I also don’t like references to body parts being discoloured or the hero saying ‘whoops’ in the middle of it all. It made for some very awkward reading!

Complaints aside, I did like The First Love Cookie Club. The cover, the title, and the setting prepared me for a cavity-inducing Christmas romance, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover there was more to this story.

VERDICT:

I think there are things you can get away with when it’s Christmas. This book was on the Brady Bunch side of the romance spectrum, but balanced by some more serious issues and some good characters. It was a solid contemporary romance I had a few issues with, but overall enjoyed reading.
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