Stevie Carroll's Reviews > Christmas Angels: A Novel

Christmas Angels by Nancy Naigle
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it was ok
bookshelves: reviewed-elsewhere

Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread:

I decided to make an early start on reviewing holiday stories this year, and so picked up a pre-release copy of this year’s novel from a new-to-me author, influenced at least as much by its promise of a plot based around house restoration as by the knowledge that a Christmas romance was also going to feature prominently. Liz Westmoreland is a project manager, working with top-end chains of stores to get their new venues launched successfully. However, her happiest childhood memories are of holidays spent with her grandparents at the Angel’s Rest Inn, and she has a long-held dream to one day open her own bed-and-breakfast establishment. Perusing properties for sale pages on the internet one afternoon, Liz comes across an auction listing for her grandparents’ old place and decides to bid on it. With the auction taking place the following day, Liz has no opportunity to view the property, but decides the risk is worth it for this particular purchase.

Having placed the winning bid, Liz rushes off to view her new purchase, only to find that the previous owners have stripped it of most of the features she remembers and loved. Disappointed, she returns to the closest town, where she encounters locals who remember her grandparents and who rekindle her determination to bring the near-derelict building back into use. The local cafe owner puts Liz in contact with a couple with a room for Liz to rent while she starts arranging the work, as well as with local all-round-useful-bloke Matt Hardy.

Matt is an architect, who built his house on the land adjoining Angel’s Rest and who shares Liz’s desire to return the property to its former glory. He had bid on it at the auction, but wasn’t as willing as Kat to pay the price she eventually handed over for the inn. Matt has fond memories of the Christmas light and animatronics shows put on by Liz’s grandparents, as well as of Liz herself, on whom he had a childhood crush. Not that Liz remembers him – he never managed to speak to her much back then.

Liz and Matt start work together, beginning with one of the cabins on the grounds, so Liz has a place to stay while the restoration proper gets going. Fortunately, there are plenty of local men in need of work, and Liz also makes friends with a number of the local women, who involve her in family activities. Sadly, the plot threads in this book seem to be very divided on ‘traditional’ and gender-normative lines, with the women doing very little of the renovation work, except where arts and crafts are concerned. There was also a great presumption of church-going Christianity by both the author and the characters, which left me feeling slightly creeped out and not at all keen to keep on visiting this particular fictional town.

I kept reading to the end, and while the mentions of church and God decreased, the Big Misunderstanding between Liz and Matt could have been very easily avoided by characters having sensible conversations. I also found the apparent psychic attributes of Matt’s dog, as well as the story behind his name, to be just plain odd (extra minus for said dog having a docked tail).
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 13, 2019 – Shelved
October 13, 2019 – Shelved as: reviewed-elsewhere
October 13, 2019 – Finished Reading

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