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It Started at Christmas...

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  33 reviews
She was hired to design his house.

Instead she created a home.

Interior designer Amanda Lowery can turn Blake Randall’s crumbling castle into a Gallant Lake showplace. But helping the real estate mogul with his guarded heart and his troubled, orphaned nephew? A much bigger challenge. With demons in her own past, Amanda yearns to help them both heal. But will she find the
Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 19th 2019 by Harlequin Special Edition
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Average rating 4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  49 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm still a new Jo McNally's reader. I read my first one about two weeks ago (which I adored!). This is the second one and I'm waiting the order for my third. All that to say that I'm not yet to date on the author's next releases so it was a plesant surprise when I saw her post about this new book. It sounded interesting but when I read the word castle, I was sold.

-A real estate mogul
-The interior designer hired to renovate his castle
-The arrival of his orphaned nephew

I'll admit there
Joyce Stewart Reviews
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It Started at Christmas
by Jo McNally
Pub Date Nov 19 2019
224 pages
Interior designer Amanda Lowery can turn Blake Randall’s crumbling castle into a Gallant Lake showplace. But helping the real estate mogul with his guarded heart and his troubled, orphaned nephew? A much bigger challenge. With demons in her own past, Amanda yearns to help them both heal. But will she find the family and safety she’s craved…or become a Christmas casualty in Blake’s latest business plan?
I loved this book so
Jessica Figueroa
Amanda is a down on her luck Interior designer looking for a job since getting fired from her last one. Before that she was having a correspondence with Blake Randall who needs his castle renovated. Problem is Blake believed shes someone else from the old place shes working at maybe she can convince him shes the person for the job.

This was a pretty good contemporary romance. I enjoyed seeing how things played out. I enjoyed getting to know the characters, seeing their past demons, seeing how
When Christmas Spirits Lend a Hand…

Amanda is an interior designer with secrets and scars, and Blake is a misunderstood real estate mogul with intimacy issues. He doesn’t easily get close to people and has his own issues to overcome, including guardianship of a nephew that he’s still learning to raise. Can they help each other heal, let themselves love, and make a family together?

I enjoyed reading this book. Although there is some predictability, there is also an element of suspense, as well as
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy through Goodreads
This was a very quick and sweet read. I found Amanda to be very refreshing and so full of life. Her determination to make it as an independent interior designer (after being black listed no thanks to her former boss who loves taking credit for other people's work) and her unique vision for Halcyon (there is even a legend attached to it). Despite this being her only shot at building her portfolio, she sticks to her guns and her designs and drawings
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent read. The characters were entertaining. I would recommend this book to read on a winter day. Just curl up and enjoy.
Crystal Gray
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I really loved doing back to get Amanda and Blake's story! However, I felt like I read them in the wrong order. Looking at release dates, I didn't! Oh well, it was still very enjoyable!
Jennifer Kayes
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Haven't read a harlequin in a while. Enjoyed the story and since this is part of a series I do want to read more of these characters.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: won
I won a copy of this book but this is my honest review.

I enjoy stories where the characters are not shown as if they were perfect since no one is in real life. The main female character, Amanda, suffers from panic attacks due to what has happened to her in the past. The main male character, Blake, starts out more concerned with his business interests than the nephew he must now raise.

Spending time working on Blake's house brings them closer to each other. All 3 of them have their lives changed
Susanne Cutler
Dec 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I won a copy of this book from Goodreads. I personally thought that this was just a typical Harlequin romance novel. Now that is not a bad thing, but it just wasn't for me. I enjoy reading romance but I need more substance.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It Started at Christmas is a great Christmas time book. It is about healing from past hurts and losses, learning to trust and love again. I received my copy through Goodreads Firstreads.
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
There certainly must be a huge market for Harlequin romance novels where the rich guy meets the poor relatively stupid but very pretty girl. No doubt from the beginning that no matter how many conflicts or problems they will end up together.
No exception in this book.
Jo McNally knows her business and writes winners...if this genre is your interest., but it is not mine.

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway which I asked myself when I won why I had entered. The answer was that is involved
Eve Devon
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved! Best I've read in ages - SO much story packed in :)
Traci Westling
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful read ! I was completely absorbed while reading this story of Amanda having been hired to design Blake’s castle . Blake is not really welcome
In this town because of his business & intentions but Amanda put that all aside to do her job! Amanda has a bit of an ongoing medical issue that has Blake demonstrating his caring side this giving the reader a great chance to constantly cheer them on to their HEA ! His nephew Zach is a character that you will instantly fall in love with
Peggy Moore
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amanda had a hard life and had been hurt a lot. A lot of demons in her past. She is ready to start new but did she have what it took. Blake didn't believe in love and family. They need each other but could they both take a chance on each other or hurt each other more.
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a really sweet, fast read romance that is perfect for this time of year. This is my first time reading anything from Jo Mcnally and I would definitely read more from her in the future.
Full review to come. Thank you to Goodreads & Harlequin for hosting this giveaway! I was so grateful to win :)

3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
The writing in this one was great and spot on for the story. The characters all came together and I loved every page. I wished this one would have been a little longer as in parts it felt like things were a little rushed. But overall it was wonderful!! The story had a great pace and I will be checking out Jo's other titles.

Overall, if you love Jo's writing and or love all those holiday titles then this one will be right up your alley.

Go Into This One Knowing: Castle and an Orphaned Child
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a giveaway. It's the first book I've read by Jo McNally and certainly won't be the last. Looking for her other books to devour.

This was a wonderful story about businessman Blake, interior designer Amanda, and his nephew Zach who he is now guardian of. It takes place in small town Gallant Lake in the Catskills of New York. Loved reading this being an upstate girl myself! Great secondary characters, too and need to read their stories.
Nicola Short
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was very heartwarming and I just loved it! It’s a Christmas romance with a haunted castle....what can I say? Perfect read for me!
Loved the two main characters, Amanda and Blake. Amanda learns to trust again with Blake’s help.
Overall, a very touching Christmas romance I highly recommend.
Thank you to NetGallery, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read and give my honest review about this book.
Carrie Sprys
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I absolutely adored this book by Jo McNally. It was a wonderful holiday read.
Jane Brewer
Dec 09, 2019 rated it liked it
I won this book from a Goodreads Giveaway. It was a sweet typical romance, and I enjoyed it up until the end. The author added a rather ridiculous plot point at the ending of the novel which I just didn't care for. Otherwise, short and sweet, but not all that Christmasy.
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pretty good story. There was a Twilight hater comment and the cursing of God's name a few times that irritated me, but overall I liked it.
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have enjoyed reading Harlequin romances since I was a young girl and this one did not disappoint. It had all the elements of a good romance and a story that held my interest to very end. If I had one thing to criticize, it would be that in spite of the title, it really wasn’t a Christmas story as such but to be fair, as the title says, it did start at Christmas.
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Contains all the elements necessary for a very successful read. Love, laughter, and suspense to keep you reading, and plenty of feel good fun just in time for Christmas!
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jo McNally has a real winner here! She evokes passion, love and a sense of the importance of family in this story.

She might have been a bit dishonest in how she went about trying to get the design job on the castle on Gallant Lake but the design drawings presented were definitely Amanda Lowery's original designs. She was very nervous about the meeting with the owner of the castle, real estate mogul Blake Randall. Blake was late for the meeting to discuss if Amanda would be hired to oversee the
Lindsay Elmore
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!! It was a story of getting over a loss and learning to love and trust again. Full of romance, laughter, and suspense, this book will not disappoint.
Donna Foster
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review
A Christmas story that has it all with a haunted castle, power struggles and rumors flying that leads to a forever romance.
Karen Hackett
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jo McNally’s It Started A Christmas is a prequel of the Lowry Women’s series, and is a heartwarming story about Interior designer Amanda Lowery turning Blake Randall’s crumbling castle into a Gallant Lake showplace. Her biggest challenge isn’t just dealing with Blake’s guarded heart and his troubled, orphaned nephew, but she has to deal with the demons of her own past. Together both Amanda and Blake learn to trust and let go of their past hurts. I’ve received Jo McNally’s It Started At Christmas ...more
Marcie Robinson
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
“It Started At Christmas” is book 2 of Jo McNally’s Gallant Lake Stories and features Blake Randall and Amanda Lowery.

If you’ve read The Lowery Women series (“She’s Far From Hollywood”, “Nora’s Guy Next Door”, “The Life She Wants”), you’re already familiar with Blake and Amanda. In those books the two are already married, however, in “It Started At Christmas”, we go back in time to when they met and how they fall in love.

Amanda is in Gallant Lake to start fresh and to get a job redesigning a
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I write the same kind of romances I like to read – stories about characters facing real-life challenges with real-life consequences. The stories are emotional, but still have humor, and love always finds a way to pull the characters through together.

I live in coastal North Carolina with 100 pounds of dog and 200 pounds of husband – my slice of the bed is very small. When I’m not writing or reading