The Christmas Wedding Guest (Wishing Tree) Blog Tour – review

The Christmas Wedding Guest
by Susan Mallery
Release Date: September 28, 2021
Publisher:  HQN Books
Book #1 in the Wishing Tree series
Number of pages:  423
Kindle Edition
Source: ARC from NetGalley and Publisher
Contemporary Romance/Holiday
Ages 16 and up
CW: child abuse, car accident

Book Description:

The last thing Reggie Sommerville wants is to come back home for Christmas. It’s only been a year and a half since her boyfriend, Jake, proposed and then broke up with her, all in one weekend, and the prospect of facing the entire town is humiliating. But when her parents reveal that they’re renewing their vows in the lavish wedding they always wanted and her mother asks her to be a bridesmaid, Reggie knows she can’t say no. No matter how much she wants to. She expected the town would be gossiping about her relationship with Jake, but she never expected to run into Toby, her first love that broke her heart all those years ago, living in town and raising his son. She always thought things between them were long over…but this Christmas is full of surprises.

Dena Sommerville has only ever wanted one thing: to have a child. But motherhood has been alluding her because she never met the right man…until she took the bull by the horns and decided to have a baby as a single mom. She knew it would be difficult and the morning sickness alone is knocking her down for the count, but she’s determined to do this on her own. So when a handsome musician checks into the inn where she works, Dena is surprised when a friendship develops. He has his own issues to work through—that much is clear. But she can’t deny there’s something between them

This Christmas, guilted into being bridesmaids at their parents’ vow renewal ceremony, Reggie and Dena Sommerville just might find the most unexpected gift of all—love.

THE CHRISTMAS WEDDING GUEST
Author: Susan Mallery
ISBN: 9781335522450
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
Publisher: HQN Books

My Review:

I love a holiday romance, so when I was given the opportunity to read and review a holiday romance by an author I had just recently started reading and loving, of course I jumped on the chance. So far, the books I’ve read by this author have been a bit more toward the women’s fiction end of things rather than the romance end. They all have romance, but it’s not always the central theme. In this book, I felt the journey of all of the main characters centered more on personal growth that opened them up to falling in love. They all wanted love, they just didn’t know how to go about finding the kind of love they yearned for.

First, I want to talk about the relationship between the sisters. Dena and Reggie are only a year apart and have always been very close. I really love their support and teasing banter. Not just between the two of them, but also their friends. And even their meddling (but truly lovely) mom. Nobody is afraid of telling the hard truths, but always with love and compassion and empathy.

While I enjoyed the Reggie/Toby pairing and felt they had a something, the connection between Reggie’s dog Belle and Toby’s son Harrison was even better. There was something holding Toby back from rekindling the first love romance he had with Reggie, and it had everything to do with Harrison. It’s made clear something terrible had happened in the past. Toby has gotten Harrison help, but it seemed to me that Toby needed to have some counseling himself. He does eventually open up to Reggie, but that barrier takes a bit longer to come down.

Dena and Micah were a couple I could get behind from the start. Theirs is a beautiful story. It gave me warm-fuzzies throughout the whole book. Not that they didn’t also have issues to work through. I just felt their chemistry much stronger than the other couple’s. There was a low simmering fire every time they were in the same room, yet also a sweetness to their interactions.

With all that being said, I did have some issues. One that even threw some sour into the sweetness of one of the characters. Toby is a single dad because Harrison’s mom did not want a child. Reggie’s reaction to the story of how Toby came to be a single dad was not great. What bothers me is I don’t feel the author intended it to be a bad thing. To me, it put a notch in the negative column when it came to that character. The important thing, in my mind, is Harrison’s birth mom realizing she was not capable of adequately caring for a baby and finding the best home she could for that baby. There is also mention of a bit of an antiquated idea of what a family is supposed to look like that really bothered me when it came to this part of the story.

Recently, I read another book with a widower that had aspects that bothered me. Micah is a widower and Dena was afraid he was still in love with his deceased wife. I cannot be reading these books back to back. That thought process drives me batty. In this story, Micah at least addresses this issue with Dena. As does Reggie. It’s at least put into perspective in this story. I’ll say it again in case you didn’t see that other review…of course he still loves his dead wife! They loved each other and she died, that doesn’t mean their love poofs into the ether. It also doesn’t mean he cannot find love again. Not better or worse love, different love. Ugh!

So there was a lot of good with some annoying issues that popped up now and again. And I adore this town! I want to live there. I found out there is a novella that deals with one of the sisters’ new friends and her HEA and I’m already on the waiting list at my library for that one. If you like a small town romance, you’ll really get behind this small town. It’s amazing.

3.5 stars

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

*************

Author Bio:

Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as mom.

Connect with Susan Mallery

Author WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreads

Buy The Christmas Wedding Guest

BookShopHarlequinBarnes & Noble

AmazonBooks-a-MillionPowell’s

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.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s