Christmas Ever After (Cape Hope) – ARC review

Christmas Ever After
By Clare Connelly
Release Date: October 6, 2021
Publisher:  Tule Publishing
Book #2 in the Cape Hope series
Number of pages:  245
Kindle Edition
Source: ARC from publisher
Contemporary Romance/Holidays
Ages 15 and up

Cassidy Hanna never felt like she belonged in Cape Hope, so she fled town and heartbreak ten years ago for a new life in Manhattan and everything she ever dreamed of—a great job and the perfect boyfriend. Only she’s never felt emptier and more alone. When her beloved grandfather falls ill, she knows she must push aside the past and return home to help.

Letting Cassidy go without a fight was the hardest thing Cape Hope doctor Phoenix Walker had ever done. Even as his own life fell apart, he lied and encouraged her to fly far from home to live out her dreams. Now Cassidy’s back—just for Christmas—and Phoenix wonders if they can have a second chance at a happy ever after…even if it’s just for the holiday.

Although I liked the first book in this series well enough, it wasn’t a book I loved. I wanted to give this author another chance because that book had a trope I really dislike, the “lie that never ends”. I figured the author can’t write that into every story, right? But the thing is, she kind of did. Not to the extent of last time; in fact, the lies in this book are more the understandable type of lies people tell each other. But now, ten years later, there is no reason to keep those lies any longer. Once again, I’m left with liking the story well enough, but not really feeling invested.

Most would look at Cassidy as the wronged party in the Cassidy/Phoenix relationship, and I would agree with that. Yet she somehow ends up being the character that is not as likable as the other. Phoenix is easy to like even when I didn’t like his reasons for doing things. Once in a while I would almost feel the connection between these two, but not often. In fact, there is a story within this story that I found to be so much more interesting and the chemistry so much more fiery than the main storyline.

But speaking of story within a story…there is also time jumping. Unfortunately, it’s not always obvious as to which time you’re reading. Cassidy’s grandfather has the story within the story and that is always very obvious. But Cassidy and Phoenix jump back and forth between now and ten years ago, that’s where things are often muddled. On top of that, there are continuity issues with all of the timelines and a huge problem with the current timeline as it seems 2 weeks lasts over a month. All things that will always irk me.

I just didn’t find myself rooting for this couple the way I would have hoped. I wasn’t against them, but I also wasn’t all in. It was a nice enough story, but with as many wonderful books that are out there I just may need to pass on this author next time.

2.5 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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