Christmas with the Firefighter
By Clare Connelly
Release Date: October 22, 2019
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Book #1 in the Cape Hope series
Number of pages: 258
Source: ARC from publisher
Contemporary Romance/Holidays M/F
Read 10/9/19 to 10/11/19
A mystery brings Ally Monroe to the idyllic seaside town of Cape Hope, North Carolina. On the quest to find out more about the father who abandoned her, Ally has no intention of getting too involved in the community. Only Cape Hope has a way of drawing people in and, before Ally knows it, she’s falling hard and fast in love with the whole town and its old-fashioned, charming ways – and particularly local single-dad Luke Miller and his adorable daughter Stella.
Volunteer firefighter Luke has been single since his wife died in childbirth six years earlier, making Stella his sole priority. But there’s something compelling about the beautiful out-of-towner and, before long, both Luke and his daughter are welcoming Ally into their home.
She came to Cape Hope looking for family and instead Ally found her way to Luke and Stella– but will they still want her when they realize she’s been lying to them about who she really is and what she’s doing in town?
First, I just have to address the title of this book. Once, maybe twice, it is mentioned in passing that the hero of this story, Luke, is a volunteer firefighter. It does not, in any way, play into this story. I get that the title of many books isn’t going to straight out tell the reader what it’s about. But I can’t help but be annoyed when the title straight out tells me the story is about Christmas with a firefighter and it’s really not.
That being said, there are a lot of good things about this story. Luke and his daughter, Stella, are amazing. Kind, smart, helpful, and flawed like any human being. Ally is likable in a many ways; she’s wonderful with kids, is kind to everyone even when she’s hurting, and she has an inner strength that has gotten her pretty far in life. Unfortunately, those things didn’t override the problems I had with her character.
I realized I have quite a problem with the “innocent lie that goes on too long” trope. (I don’t know what else to call it, so there ya go.) The lie Ally tells, the reasons she has for telling the lie, make an odd sort of sense at the beginning. Yet I found myself getting very frustrated the longer she kept the truth to herself. The length of the lie is what didn’t make sense to me, not the lie itself. Even with her internal justifications, I still didn’t get it at all.
It may sound like I didn’t like this story. The thing is, I did. It took me a bit longer than it should have for me to get through this one because of my issues. But there is a nice chemistry between Ally and Luke, and Ally and Stella. So I feel I’ll give this author another chance. Like I said, there is a very specific plot point that made this a harder book for me to get into. I’m going to assume the author doesn’t use this point in all of her prose.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**