Christmas in Angel Harbor – ARC review

Christmas in Angel Harbor
by Jeannie Moon
Release Date: October 29, 2020
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Number of pages:  292
Source:  ARC from publisher
Contemporary Romance/Holidays M/F
Rating: R
Read 10/25/20 to 10/27/20

Twenty-five years ago, Jane Fallon put her rising career on hold to take over her family’s bookstore after the death of her father. Throughout the years, she’s transformed Angel Harbor Books into a place of comfort for her and her daughter, but when her landlord announces the building has been sold, Jane is faced with sudden uncertainty. If the bookstore is gone, what will she do?

As a young man, Dan Gallo couldn’t get out of Angel Harbor fast enough. Now a best-selling novelist, Dan returns home after a tragedy derails his career. His first stop is his favorite teenage hangout—the local bookstore. It’s almost exactly how he remembers it. But the girl who once worked there is now a beautiful woman whose smarts and spirit inspire him to write again, and open his heart to new possibilities.

With her world threatening to fall apart, Dan hopes that with the help of the town—and some Christmas magic—he can get Jane to see how important she is to the people of Angel Harbor…and him. 

I kept thinking this author’s name was familiar, but knew she wasn’t on my regular rotation. I looked into it after reading this story and realized I read her book, Then Came You, a few years ago and loved it. Which begs the question, why haven’t I read more of her stories between then and now? I say this all the time when I find authors I enjoy, but I really need to remedy my lack of Jeannie Moon in my library.

This is a very touching Christmas story. Being a mom of grown boys, I could totally feel Jane’s mixed feelings. On top of those maternal emotions, there were her confused feelings about Dan. While these two spent most of their free time with one another through high school, and even when they were both home on breaks from college, they never took their relationship to a romantic level. They were, for all intents and purposes, in a romantic relationship without the romance. In today’s terms, one would say Dan seemed to have ghosted Jane once they went on to grad school and law school. This withdrawal happened at the same time that Jane’s father died unexpectedly and her whole world changed. It’s no wonder Jane can’t help but keep a sort of wall up, even as she and Dan reconnect and get closer than ever before.

Dan has been through a lot and, truthfully, I felt he learned a lot because of the things happened throughout the last year. He didn’t handle things well when he left Angel Harbor. Not because he’s a jerk or anything traumatic happened, but because he didn’t know how to deal with strong emotions. He now understands who he was then and who he wants to be now. That all being said, I felt we miss a bit of depth in his back story. I didn’t need (or want) the gritty details, but it seemed the extent of the backlash was touched on more than once but never really fleshed out.

The way Jane and Dan easily fall back into their friendship is truly beautiful. Then, watching that friendship blossom and grow was an even more stunning thing to see. There’s a wonderful connection between them, but I didn’t quite feel the chemistry coming off the page. Jane has a line that basically summed up my feelings on this couple…”There might not have been a lot of sizzle between her and Danny, but there was definitely heat.” One thing I noticed was that I felt their chemistry so much more when they were interacting with one another than if they were talking to others about their feelings.

Now, it’s no secret that I hate secrets. A huge downfall to this story for me was a secret that Danny keeps from Jane. I didn’t think it would bother me at first, but there was definitely a point where he should have spoken up and didn’t. Then I got annoyed because we all know what is going to happen and, while waiting for that shoe to drop, I’m twisted in knots. I’m glad the author didn’t have this part of the story drag through the whole book though.

All in all, I enjoyed this story a lot. I love the way the author wrote her characters, flawed but lovable in a very believable way. Seriously, I need to read more from this author soon.

4 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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