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Friday Harbor #1

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor

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New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas’s new series begins during the most magical time of year
ONE LITTLE GIRL NEEDS A FAMILY
One rain-slicked night, six-year-old Holly lost the only parent she knew, her beloved mother Victoria. And since that night, she has never again spoken a word.
ONE SINGLE MAN NEEDS A WIFE
The last thing Mark Nolan needs is a six-year-old girl in his life. But he soon realizes that he will do everything he can to make her life whole again. His sister’s will gives him the instructions: There’s no other choice but you. Just start by loving her. The rest will follow.
SOMETIMES, IT TAKES A LITTLE MAGIC…
Maggie Collins doesn’t dare believe in love again, after losing her husband of one year. But she does believe in the magic of imagination. As the owner of a toy shop, she lives what she loves. And when she meets Holly Nolan, she sees a little girl in desperate need of a little magic.
…TO MAKE DREAMS COME TRUE
Three lonely people. Three lives at the crossroads. Three people who are about to discover that Christmas is the time of year when anything is possible, and when wishes have a way of finding the path home…

BONUS MATERIAL INCLUDED:  1st chapter of Lisa Kleypas’s newest novel RAINSHADOW ROAD, coming February 2012.

211 pages, Hardcover

First published April 11, 2010

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About the author

Lisa Kleypas

96 books27.3k followers
LISA KLEYPAS is the RITA award-winning author of 21 novels. Her books are published in fourteen languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband and two children.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,126 reviews
Profile Image for Shawna.
3,477 reviews4,551 followers
November 4, 2010
5 stars – Contemporary/Holiday Romance

Let me start by saying that I’m a romance addict, and I read for escapism and rate books solely based on my level of enjoyment and how they make me feel, not the literary value or social relevance.

Lisa Kleypas is my favorite author, and I’ve absolutely loved every book of hers that I’ve read because her characters and stories are always full of life, engaging, and poignant. I was beyond excited about her new contemporary Friday Harbor series, and although I would have loved for it to be longer and steamier with a bit more romance, the series debut novella, Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, is still a deeply moving and utterly satisfying read that, to me, was worth the $9.99 + tax (about the price of a movie ticket) that I paid for it on my Kindle.

Take an adorable six-year-old girl who hasn’t spoken a word since she lost her mother, a hardened bachelor uncle with skewed views on marriage, family, and happily ever who has his life turned upside down, heart touched, and soul healed through the responsibility and unconditional love of becoming his niece’s guardian, another fun loving uncle who opens his vineyard home for them all to live together, a guarded widow with a toy shop who’s love of magic is just what the heartbroken little girl needs, an ugly but lovable Bulldog, and a beautiful, small town island setting and then add several tender, emotional moments, some uplifting holiday cheer, a nice dose of humor, and a touch of nostalgia, and you’ve got an endearing romance that’s a real heartwarming treat.

It’s such a sweet, genuine, and touching holiday story that tugged and wrenched my heartstrings and made me cry in earnest, smile, laugh, and feel all warm and cozy inside like I’d had a nice, comforting, steaming cup of Bailey’s hot chocolate or apple cider in front of a roaring fire on a chilly winter’s day. I usually like my romance a little (okay, much) hotter, and although I would have liked a bit more of Mark and Maggie together, the charming family moments with brothers Mark and Sam showering their precious niece Holly with affection were the most gratifying. I loved it! This gave me a good dose of sentimental holiday spirit that I needed. I just wish there had been more of it, and I can’t wait until the next story in the series. 5 sweet stars!

Favorite quote:

And there were no rules for how to deal with the death of someone you loved. You had to accept that the loss would always stay with you, like a reminder note pinned to the inside of your jacket. But there were still opportunities for happiness. Even joy.

Rating: PG
Profile Image for  Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~*.
118 reviews383 followers
May 29, 2012
5 Stars - Also reviewed at: Lady Jayne's Reading Den

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor , for me, was like…

...A homemade chocolate chip cookie accompanied by a cup of mocha with the right blend of roasted coffee and warm, smooth chocolate. All this, enjoyed sitting looking out at the harbour, with the sea breeze on my face, and the fresh scents of the air after a rain. I see a beautiful rainbow against the blue sky, and spy the dark storm clouds, which had just passed by, away in the distance. I feel the warmth of the sunshine against my face, the brightness of the light causing my eyes to glisten. There is a huge smile on my face and I sigh because of the beauty in the “now”, in the precious simple moments of life.

That was how this book made me feel. Or in other words: “Awwww…..” *sighs* ^_^ This book really touched me and gave me the "warm fuzzies".

Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands, Washington

To put it simply, this is a story about loss, grief, change, hope, commitment, family and love.

I finished this book in the wee hours of the morning, with tears in my eyes and a big smile on my face, as I drifted to sleep. Lisa Kleypas is one of my favourite authors. Her writing always paints such vivid pictures in my mind and her characters burrow themselves into my heart.

While, like other Lisa Kleypas fans, I wish this was a full length novel, Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor is a sweet and romantic PG-rated holiday novella. The ingredients of this sweet story are: A cute little girl named Holly, who asks Santa for a “mom”; Holly’s guardian uncle, Mark Nolan, the owner of a small coffee-roasting business, trying to be a parent deserving of Holly; two other uncles, Sam and Alex Nolan, drawn together to be there for this little girl; Maggie, a young widow who owns a toy store; the setting of the beautiful San Juan Islands; and the magic of imagination and love.

I loved this for the hope-and-magic-filled holiday novella that it was, and for that reason, it was a 5-Star read, for me. Of course, novellas are never as good as full-length novels, since I always want more - especially more Lisa Kleypas!

I look forward to the full-length novels of the Friday Harbor series: Rainshadow Road (2012), Dream Lake (2012) and Crystal Cove (2013)

Favourite quotes:

“And there were no rules for how to deal with the death of someone you loved. You had to accept that the loss would always stay with you, like a reminder note pinned to the inside of your jacket. But there were still opportunities for happiness. Even joy.”
....

“Staring down at the little girl, Mark experienced one of those moments when you had a sudden and intense awareness of who you had been not all that long ago, and discovered that you were now in a different place entirely.”
....

“For the first time in his life he knew what it felt like to have his heart broken… not broken in a sad or romantic sense, but broken open. He had never known this before, the desire to surround another human being with perfect happiness”.
....

"Something happened to you, they discovered, when you were given the unconditional love and trust of a child. You wanted to try to deserve it"
....

“ Quoting Emily Dickinson: “Forever is composed of nows.” Maggie paused, her smile turning wistful at the edges. “You shouldn’t worry about forever … time runs out faster than you expect.”
....

“As they continued to talk, it somehow slipped into the bonelessly comfortable, unstructured conversation of longtime friends, both of them letting it go where it would.”

....


COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: I do not hold the copyright to any of the images used in this review. They are posted to add visuals to the review and for fun. If any of these images are yours and you would like me to remove them, please let me know, and I will do so as soon as possible. If I can identify the copyright, I will do so.

Profile Image for UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish.
1,166 reviews1,570 followers
November 21, 2015

Anyone who reads historical romance has probably already been introduced to the art form that is Lisa Kleypas’ storytelling, so you’ll understand when I say that there really are no words to describe just what a talented writer she is. Therefore, I’ll save you all a lot of time and keep this short.

It must not be easy to give readers the feel of a full length novel in a short story such as this because very few authors actually do it. But with Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, we were given a truly sweet story with just the right amount of holiday magic. It’s a heartwarming tale that has all the right ingredients to make this a 5 star read. There’s Holly, an adorable little girl whose loss broke my heart. We have Mark Nolan, a very sexy hero who, because he understands the importance of family and was willing - without hesitation - to give up his own life’s plans to care for niece, earned my respect. And finally, Maggie Collins, a truly enjoyable heroine who I came to admire because while she had heartbreaking emotional baggage, she didn’t let it ruin her life. And I haven’t even mentioned Mark’s brothers, Alex and Sam, who were amazing men in their own right and will no doubt have fabulous stories. Wow! All this was accomplished in just over 200 pages.

And why did that surprise me? In a way, it didn’t – this is Lisa Kleypas we’re talking about here – but this was my first contemporary read by her, so I had no idea what to expect. Silly me! There are some authors who might be fabulous writing within the confines of one genre but can’t venture any further than that or they lose their magic. And then there are some authors who, regardless of the genre, can do no wrong. Lisa Kleypas is one of those rarities, and Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor is without a doubt, proof of that.

And look at this - I went on longer than I had intended, but when it comes to talking about Ms. Kleypas' stories, that's easy to do.

I'm soooo looking forward to the next book in this series, Rainshadow Road!
December 2, 2010
Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor was a lovely little morsel to get me into the Christmas spirit (or at least more into it, since I've already started listening to Christmas music on the satellite radio--I'm a Christmas junkie. What can I say?). It was also a great introduction to Ms. Kleypas' new contemporary series. I am very happy with it, and eager to read about Mark's brothers finding their HEAs.

I really loved the heart-warming vibe of this story. I love books that show the incredible bond that can form between a man and a woman (or any group of people who become their own family), and encompass children, either through their own union, or that they have brought into their lives. This book was definitely one of those stories. I have never felt that family has to be limited to the traditional idea of a nuclear bond. Blood bonds are important, but are completely unnecessary in forming a family. This book has that message.

Mark has the magnetic charisma that Ms. Kleypas is so stellar at endowing her heroes with. He also has a little bit of the tortured hero to him, not much, but enough. His family life wasn't great, and after losing his sister, he has taken on the role as guardian to her daughter Holly, not sure if he's up for it, but determined to do his best. Somehow, along the way, his heart is changed from the man who barely does the family thing, to a father who would do anything for his daughter, even if she's only his niece. And his brother Sam also finds an incredible sense of purpose through helping to raise Holly.

What's interesting is the dynamic between Mark, Holly, and Maggie. Initially it seems as though Maggie will be the fairy godmother who comes and makes everything right with Mark and Holly. But it turns out that Mark and Holly do a lot of healing for Maggie, who is still trying to recover from losing her husband, and has sworn off marriage and having kids of her own, afraid and believing she has nothing left to give.

Lisa Kleypas is one of my favorite authors for a reason: She knows her stuff. When I read her books, I am getting a full experience. She puts the heart, a wonderful, exciting love story, the beautiful description, a great, engaging narrative, humor, and pathos all there for me to enjoy. She has a wonderful way with words, a skilled artist who paints a visually-arresting landscape with her prose. Her books never feel flat to me, they are as three-dimensional as if I was there in the scene. I have discovered this sudden urge to go to Washington and explore Friday Harbor, and hope that I will walk past Maggie's toy store, or Mark's coffee-roasting business. I want to look up Rainshadow Vineyard while I am in town. I don't know when I'll get to Washington, but I know I will definitely want to revisit Friday Harbor and its inhabitants again, and this book is short enough to pick up every year to get that lovely Christmas spirit infusion, and to stop by and visit with my new friends that I have made.

If you need a little pick-me-up, and a book to remind you why Christmas is more than just a hassle and a marketing gimmick, but a wonderful time of year to enjoy family and friends, and to remember the most important thing about the season, you will find that in Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor. Because this book shows the power of love to warm hearts and to make bonds where there was no hope for a sense of connection. The power of love to heal what is broken. If you don't believe me, just give this book a read.
Profile Image for Dina.
1,324 reviews1,172 followers
December 5, 2013
2 1/2 stars

It pains me to say this, but I didn't enjoy this read. *ducks rotten tomatoes*

The plot is pretty simple and the book description is good enough to give you the gist of it, so I won't bother with writing a plot summary here. What can I say? I liked the premise of the story, but the book didn't live up to my expectations.

As usual, Ms. Kleypas' writing was solid and made the story flow easily. Her description of Friday Harbor was so charming and vivid that it made me want to move there.

As for the characters, Mark was nice, Maggie was nice, little Holly was nice, Mark's brother Sam was nice... When did "nice" become such a bad thing? :-/

Romance wise, Mark and Maggie's relationship was disappointingly underdeveloped. There was some buildup, but no real "tension". Not even the fact that Mark was involved in a relationship with another woman for the most part of the story or that Maggie was still (sort of) "grieving" over the death of her husband made the story less, well, lukewarm. Then, all of a sudden, Mark was free, Maggie was ready to move on and embrace a new relationship, and they all lived happily ever after... "Rushed" doesn't begin to describe the ending of this book.

I'm a huge fan of Ms. Kleypas' historical books, but I'm not sold to her contemporary's yet. If this is an example of what I should expect from the upcoming books in this series, I don't think I'll be buying them.
Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,935 followers
April 13, 2017
I am shocked. I didn't believe it was possible for me to EVER dislike a Kleypas book. How could this have happened?

Before I start this review, I must first go back in time a few days...

DATE : December 23

TIME : Lazy afternoon with the kids out of the house

ACTIVITY : My viewing of a recorded movie - Christmas With Holly, based on the book I'm reviewing. Don't ask me why I decided to record and watch it, but I have to admit to being curious about seeing a Kleypas book translated to film.

RESPONSE : Well...that was a couple hours of my life that I'll never get back. Surely, the book HAS to be better. I guess I need to read the thing.

And now...back to the present...

I figured that there was no way the Hallmark Hall of Fame crapfest of a movie that I watched could be any better than the book itself.

I was wrong. So my mind is thinking that the story would be more interesting in book form. At the very least, there might be a nice little sex scene that wasn't shown in the PG rated movie.

BAH. I SAY BAH. To all of it.

By the 25% mark I started skimming. People had warned me that this was Kleypas' weakest book, but I didn't honestly think it could be that bad.

Let's just put it this way...it was as if every single thing that I would love about a Kleypas book was edited out of Friday Harbor. The banter was awful, the humor was practically nonexistent, the story was boring, and the steam was laughable.

I never, ever thought I'd see the day come where I'd have to write a negative review for this author. It's a sad day for me indeed. I honestly have nothing else that I want to say. Hopefully, the next Kleypas book that I pick up will wash the memory of this one away.
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,014 reviews12.8k followers
December 21, 2021
Why does this title have Christmas Even in it when there is barely even any Christmas in it!? This mostly leads up to Christmas and how Holly wants a mom for Christmas (which she writes on a list in September) after losing both of her parents in a car accident. This was short and nothing really special. Mark is raising his niece with his brother and meets Maggie. Mark, though, is in a relationship and still finds himself intrigued by Maggie. It was fine, but I was hoping for a Christmas romance and this definitely didn't deliver.
Profile Image for Auntee.
1,264 reviews1,368 followers
October 31, 2011
No big review, just some thoughts:

Kicking myself for hesitating over this one (when will I learn to listen to Shawna?) Of course I loved it. I didn't care that it was a G/PG-rated romance--the storytelling was second to none, and LK didn't really need to spell out that one incredible love scene. I felt it emotionally, and even shed a few tears near the end of the book. Maggie, Mark, little Holly, Sam, and even Renfield(!) were such incredibly drawn characters, and Friday Harbor? I want to move there! My one little gripe? No epilogue! Not even a tiny little paragraph.:( When I turned that last page and realized we weren't going to experience Christmas morning...ack! If Mark and Maggie don't reappear in this series (and often) I will be one disappointed reader! 4 1/2 stars

Renfield...
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Profile Image for sђellΐe.
23 reviews
October 25, 2022
Not long ago I told Holly that love is a choice, Mark said. I was wrong. Love isn't a choice. The only choice is what you are going to do with it.

Fabulous Holiday selection and wonderful introduction to a series. A little short but a whole lot of sweet!
Profile Image for Laura.
596 reviews118 followers
November 20, 2022
This is a lovely story with loss, love and blended families. A young girl gets the Christmas wish of her dreams.
Profile Image for Geo Marcovici.
1,217 reviews291 followers
August 12, 2018
O poveste de dragoste frumoasa si emoționantă. Despre cum poate schimba un copil prioritățile unui adult.
Profile Image for Floripiquita.
1,327 reviews150 followers
March 5, 2019
Tres estrellas raspaditas. Con lo que me gusta Lisa Kleypas, en este libro me cuesta ver su toque, la verdad. La historia, de tan tierna es un poco ñoña y me ha faltado más desarrollo. Además, al principio me ha recordado mucho al primer libro de la saga Chesapeake Bay de Nora Roberts. Eso si, la voz ronca y el termo de café de Mark aprueban con nota.
Profile Image for Lisa Kay.
924 reviews504 followers
November 23, 2019
★★★★★ I've read this mulitple times; just had to listen to the audio. No suprise - it's great too! What follows is the same review I did of the hardcopy.

Magical Realism or Not?

Yes, I do think Kleypas 'blew a kiss toward' magical realism in Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor in the first toy store scene (an enchanted place for everyone) . It brought a smile to my lips.

There are a lot of other subtle things. The majority of the book takes place on an island, evocative of an exotic locale. I can almost smell the sea air and feel the breeze. The smooth, warm taste of roasted coffee Mark has made from his own labors. Sam valiantly works the soil while tending his vineyards, with a Victorian house - often a time period for magical realism - in the background. And Alex desperately needs some sort of mystical intervention. The magic of the season (both Halloween and Christmas). The letter to Santa.

But most of all, we know this is a HEA novella, so there is a sensual aura of exploration and driving force of destiny whenever Mark and Maggie interact. Yes, LK just gave a tiny nod to the genre, but it was well done and done so sweetly.
Profile Image for Mary.
44 reviews13 followers
January 4, 2015
What can I say? Lisa Kleypas never disappoints. This is the first book in the Friday Harbor series and I can't wait to read the next. I admit I saw the movie based on this book and I wasn't impressed. It was an okay Halmark movie. But now that I've read the book I like the movie even less. There was so much material here that the movie either ignored or changed. The brothers were changed completely, they could have had their own movies. But enough about a sad movie adaptation. Read this book and be happy, happy that the book is great and happy that you have books about the brothers to read in the future. As for me, I'm on to book two.
Profile Image for Elena.
236 reviews193 followers
October 7, 2017
Mi eterna pendiente, Lisa Kleypas. Por fin me he quitado esa espinita y he conocido la pluma de la autora, mi estreno no podía ser mejor, me ha gustado mucho, una historia muy bonita y dulce. Quería empezar con algún libro autoconclusivo, me decidí por este, aunque forme parte de la serie "Friday Harbor", para hacerme una idea de su prosa y tengo que seguir leyéndola.


P.D. Lidia no se me olvida nuestra LC de Irresistible ;)
Profile Image for Karen.
793 reviews1,004 followers
May 4, 2020
4 STARS

Dear Santa
I want just one thing this year
A mom
Please dont forget I live in friday harbor now.
thank you
love
Holly

Well, you would almost be considered as heartless as the Grinch, if you didn't like this one. It was short and sweet, with lots of tugs on your heartstrings. I liked Maggie, but I will admit that she got a wee bit annoying there near the end, stuck on the "I can never love again" mantra. *rolls eyes* Lucky for her, Mark was a tolerant and patient man. I wasn't so sure about him in the beginning. He seemed kind of wishy washy about which girl he wanted. But once he made up his mind... he was pretty terrific. This was a very fast read. Looking forward to the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Annie .
2,426 reviews803 followers
May 8, 2011
There is a reason why Lisa Kleypas is a New York Times Bestseller. For those of you who read historical romances, I’m sure you are aware of Kleypas’s amazing Wallflowers and Hathaways series. Kleypas is simply the queen when it comes to historical romance. Her cunning wit and endearing characters jump out of the pages and settles in your heart where you find yourself scouring her backlist to get that feeling back!

I will admit, I was terrified to read her contemporary novels just because I didn’t think they would live up to her beloved historicals. Contemporary romance isn’t a genre that I read often and so there isn’t much for me to compare this to, but nevertheless, this book charmed me to my toes!

Mark Nolan lost his sister in a car crash and was thrust into the world of parenting without warning. Handling six-year-old Holly was the last thing on his to-do list. As if cooking and cleaning wasn’t enough, little Holly chose not to say a single word to anyone, scaring Mark to the point where he questioned if she would ever speak again.

Kleypas has a way of making me love all her characters. Mark was SUCH a great guy! He was charming and funny. He was persistent, but never overbearing. And even as his other relationship crumbled, he was still optimistic about that failed relationship, never regretting any of the events. Mark Nolan was just an all-around good guy, the kind that made this book so easy to love.

Maggie is such a sweetheart. Being a widow for two years has stripped some of her hope from her life. But there was still a spark inside her that Mark saw and the two of them had unbelievable chemistry! And although there’s not a lot of steamy sex in this one, their conversations are just as passionate. I especially loved the conversation about coffee. So unbelievably cute!

Then there is Mark’s younger brothers, Sam and Alex who need to have their own books! Sam had the best sense of humour and Alex was already showing some growth as a character.

Holly, of course, was the light of this book, overcoming a personal barrier that had nothing to do with her selective mutism. In the beginning, she asked Santa for a mother, one that wouldn’t replace Victoria. But another one that could guide her through life and I thought Maggie fit that role from their very first encounter with one another.

Christmas Eve at Friday Habor was a book that warmed my heart. I loved it, and if you’re wondering if Kleypas’s contemps are worth the read...THEY ARE! Everything that I loved about her historicals was in this book. It was perfect!

http://underthecoversbookblog.blogspo...
Profile Image for MelissaB.
718 reviews314 followers
December 12, 2010
*** 4 1/2 stars ***

Super cute wonderful Christmas story but it needed to be longer, the ending felt rushed. The characters were very likable and well drawn. I am glad LK will be writing third person contemporary stories now, she does a great job with it.
Profile Image for Ronyell.
956 reviews319 followers
October 14, 2013
Whenever I was reading some of Lisa Kleypas’ works, I was always reading her historical romance novels. Well, I just stumbled upon not only her most recent novel to date, but the first contemporary romance novel I have read from her and it is called “Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor.” Be prepared to see Lisa Kleypas’ romantic world contemporary style!

One night, a six year old girl named Holly lost her mother, Victoria, in a car accident and ever since the accident, Holly has never spoken a word to anyone. Because Victoria is not around to take care of Holly anymore, Holly is sent to live with her handsome yet shy Uncle Mark Nolan, who has no idea how to take care of Holly. However, Mark soon starts to bond with Holly and tries his best to take good care of Holly. Later on however, Mark meets a beautiful and optimistic woman named Maggie Conroy, who had recently lost her husband to cancer a year ago and she and Holly seem to take a liking to each other. Is this the beginning of a new friendship between Mark and Maggie or will this relationship sprout into love?

This book was more like those cute little Christmas specials you see on television than an actual romance story since it is more focused on the characters’ background stories about their past lives rather than the romantic aspect of the story, which makes this one unique contemporary romance novel. This is not your typical romance novel as it focuses more on the trials of having an adopted family and trying to feel loved again, which I thought that Lisa Kleypas had pulled it off extremely well. What I really loved about Lisa Kleypas’ writing was that she was able to show the audience Holly’s reaction to her mother’s death as she did not speak to anyone and that part of the story was extremely powerful and moving to me since I cannot imagine what the death of a parent can do to a child. I found myself growing attach to Holly as a character since she is such a sweet little girl who went through so much after her mother died and I always sympathized with her situation since I would have felt the same way that Holly did when her mother died, but every time I see Holly’s happiness towards the middle of the book, my heart just melts for her! Now let us move onto the hot couple of the story! Oh my goodness, the best part of this story was Mark Nolan himself as not only does he have one muscular and hot body (which I love) but he has a very sweet and passionate personality that makes him one awesome character. Even though Mark had no experience with taking care of children, he truly cares for Holly and would do anything for her. Another character I really loved was Maggie as she was just as sweet as Mark is and because she also lost someone dear to her which was her husband, her loving relationship with Holly was heartwarming and believable that I just loved every minute that Maggie spent with Holly. From the beginning of the book, Mark and Maggie were meant to be together and what I really loved about their relationship was the fact that they just casually told each other their problems in their lives without feeling uncomfortable near each other.

The reason why I gave this book a four star rating instead of a five star rating is because while Mark and Maggie have great chemistry together, I wanted to see more intimate moments between those two so that this book would be more interesting in the romantic aspect of the story.

All in all, “Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor” is like a romance fan’s dream come true whenever they want to read romance novels during the holidays and I am definitely looking forward to reading Sam and Alex’s side of the story in the next books of the Friday Harbor series! Anyone looking for a good contemporary romance novel check this book out!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog
Profile Image for Michelle.
695 reviews78 followers
December 15, 2020
The perfect book to get you into the Christmas Spirit! ⛵️

I didn’t know that this story was the beginning of a series, but I will DEFINITELY be continuing on with it! To be honest I’m not really a love story person, but I’ve heard that Lisa Kleypas is the Queen of romance so here I am ! Also, this cover is STUNNING!

“Forever is composed of nows.” Emily Dickinson

Holly is only six years old when her mother, Victoria, is killed in a car crash and it was never disclosed who her father may be. Therefore, the only family that the little girl has left are her three uncles: Alex, Sam and Mark.

Even though Alex is married, their relationship is less than stable. Not to mention he is incredibly selfish and far too focused on his own aspirations to take care of a child. Sam, the middle brother, is a jokester; the party animal. He’s not really “father” material, at least not at this point in his life. So that leaves Mark, the oldest and most mature but hasn’t the slightest idea of how to raise a young girl. He’s only ever been around to buy her presents at holidays and for quick visits here and there.

But, Victoria makes it clear in her will -“ There’s no other choice but you... Just start by loving her. The rest will follow.”

So Mark says goodbye to his Bachelor Pad Condo and privacy with his blonde bombshell girlfriend Shelby and hello to sharing a home with his brother Sam and niece Holly. The place is a fixer-upper but it only takes a little love to make a house a home.

The only problem— Holly has stopped talking. Ever since she lost her mother she’s made nothing but a few simple noises and gestures in 6 months time. That is, until she steps into the new toy store in town “Magic Mirror” and the owner Maggie tells her the tale of a magical shell.

Absolutely adorable!

5 ⭐️
Profile Image for Mo.
1,348 reviews2 followers
February 14, 2020

Nice introduction to the folks of Friday Harbor. Sexy hero, sweet girl, smart, beautiful heroine.


I love the Historicals that Ms Kleypas writes but I am enjoying this contemporary series too - onto book 2 already.


Profile Image for Yolanda.
625 reviews162 followers
May 30, 2016
qué historia más dulce y bonita! y que corrrrtaaaaaa
Profile Image for Beanbag Love.
565 reviews246 followers
October 30, 2010
This story reminded me so much of the romance shorts I used to read in my mom's Woman's Day magazines. Totally insubstantial and forgettable.

It starts with a big, emotionally engaging event. Mark Nolan's sister, Victoria, is killed in a car accident. She leaves a young daughter, Holly, who is traumatized by the loss of her mother and refuses to speak from that moment on. It's a strong beginning but the rest just doesn't live up to it.

Mark meets Maggie when he goes into her toy store with Holly. Now, San Juan Island is very small so he would have known her personally if she hadn't just moved there. But she's new and pretty and sparks his interest when she connects with Holly right away.

Maggie and Mark have great chemistry and, realistically, they should start dating immediately. Unfortunately Kleypas throws some false obstacles into their path and that's the meat of the story. They're not huge obstacles, nothing life-threatening, mostly just typical. One of them is actually a major cliche in the falling-in-love-again genre. The story is so short, though, they're just sort of glossed over and we get to the end -- exactly like the romances in women's magazines.

And Holly. Adorable kid! So sweet. So wonderful! Understanding on a higher level. How does she act out? By not talking while continuing to be sweet and biddable. If only. Extremely unrealistic kid characterization. It makes the adult characters' job extremely easy and Holly nothing more than a device to get the leads together.

I'm sorry to give Lisa Kleypas a negative review. This is really a 2.5 star read. If you can wait, just get it at the library as Kleypas's publisher is -- as usual -- demanding ridiculous prices for it's HC and e-book editions.

Maybe the next one in the series will be better. Mark's brothers are introduced in this book and they seem interesting, but I think I'll wait and get the next book from the library. I don't recommend spending your hard earned dollars on this until it's on the super-slashed pricing rack. :(
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3,150 reviews191 followers
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December 23, 2021
The first in a great new contemporary romance series by Lisa Kleypas. A perfect read for a cold, winter's day - all you need is this book and a comfy chair and you'll be set. Hot beverage is optional as this book will leave you with the warm fuzzies with or without one!

-Lindsey D.
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505 reviews254 followers
January 1, 2018
I feel kinda duped. This was my first contemporary read by Lisa Kleypas, and it was so dull – I was shocked! A lot of this book felt like it was just flash-forwarding many scenes. I wanted time to see a character really interact in a scene. By the time I reached 60%, I was confused feeling like barely anything happened – character-development-wise AND plot-wise. If the scenes at 60% were at 30% instead, and the author added more good, vivid scenes to show how the characters have grown, and how their relationship with each other have changed, this would be a lot better. Basically, it spent too much time on things that didn’t need to be emphasized, and spent too little time on the actual developments of the characters and romance.

OK, but it had a really promising and cute start. I was imagining all the possibilities, but it just ended up being blah to me.

I did love the scenes with Holly though. And I like how the main characters interacted with her.

Also, did we really spend most of the book seeing the main guy in a relationship with someone else, while entertaining flirtatious and cheating notions for the protagonist? It was OK in the beginning because he said they weren’t exclusive anyway, but they DID become exclusive, and he was PLANNING on them getting married one day (despite his general reluctance because he didn’t believe in love). The fact that this was happening for most of the book made the main relationship suffer because he was so busy half-heartedly being with this other girl, there weren’t many scenes to see his relationship with Maggie develop.

In addition, Maggie felt rather 2-dimensional. Compared to all of the heroines I have seen in Kleypas’ other books, she was boring. I liked what I saw in the beginning, but her character never became fleshed-out.

On a random note, I thought it was weird that they didn’t focus more on the sister who died at the beginning. Even if the brothers weren’t close with her, I was surprised that there weren’t any emotional breakdowns or tears or many memories of her. Because this book centers around taking care of Holly, the sister’s daughter, it would have been more thoughtful and sweet if they felt more about the sister, even if the relationship itself wasn’t very close.

Overall, I’m giving this 2 stars. There were a few good scenes, particularly with Holly, but it was overall a disappointing read. I feel like Kleypas’ books, whether I liked or disliked the book, never failed to make me feel SOMETHING strong. This book was just too dull for me to feel anything much.

Things that you might want to know (WARNING: Spoilers below)
Happy/satisfying ending?
Love triangle? Cheating? Angst level? Other things to note?

Tears-worthy?
Humor?
Favorite scenes?
What age level would be appropriate?
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I’m so used to reading Kleypas’ historical fiction, and this will be my 1st contemporary from her. Hopefully it’ll be a good change 🤔🤔
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