I received Christmas Kisses & Wishes from the author herself for review. This short story is part of the series The Love List. The Love List was made up by a group of friends while enjoying a glass of wine. Each one of them wrote down the name of a nice guy that they wouldn’t date, but maybe their friends would, on a piece of paper. Then they all had to choose one of the names and ask them out. Perfect set-up for a series of 4 sweet romance books with the same beginning but a very different story. The book I read is a short add-on to the series, complete with Christmas spirit!
Sharon Kleve is an american author of paranormal and contemporary romance. She writes, reads, lives and breathes the genre and that is evident in her writings. I’m guessing she also has a soft spot for Christmas as she has written a number of Christmas-themed romance novels over the years. I also adore everything Christmas, so the book I read was the perfect one to get to know (and love) her work. I haven’t added her books to my to-read list, I just added her name!
Christmas Kisses & Wishes is, like a said, a short story of 45 pages long, which I both liked and disliked. I like stories that are short and sweet and get to the point rather quickly. All the elements you need are in the story and the happy ending doesn’t feel too unrealistic. But at the same time, all the elements were also there to make it into a full-length romance novel. The author definitely could have made more of the friendship between Finn and the other girls of The Love List. She also could have given her main character more time to get used to the town, after all she does have three months on her schedule. I liked the relationship between Finn and Keaton, but it all got very serious, very fast. I think it would maybe have been a little bit more believable and realistic if Sharon Kleve had given her characters more time to get to know each other. Yes, falling in love can happen in the blink of an eye, but getting to know someone and deciding to want to spend your life with them doesn’t happen overnight!
There is also a suspensul aspect to the novel: Finn has a stalker. Just when she is settling into Vine Grove and starting to fall for Keaton, something happens to mess it all up. This is quite normal for romance novels, and it usually spans over pages and pages. So the suspense could definitely have played a bigger role in the story. Yes, the quick resolution is more fun and in some ways more desired (because everyone who is in trouble wants a quick and easy solution), but I don’t think it’s that easy in real life. In reality, it takes a while to figure out what is happening, why and who is doing it. Trying to catch them in the act to get them convicted is even more difficult. This storyline is in fact what the full-length novel could have been built on.
But like I said, I do like short and sweet (especially when it’s about Christmas). And in a way, it was also good that everything got resolved rather quickly because we got to the happy ending faster. Furthermore, it can be enormously frustrating if you just want the characters to get together but things keep on happening to keep them apart, or they are not communicating well enough to resolve everything once and for all. In conclusion: a bit of a double feeling, but if you’re short on time or just want something short and sweet as something different in between other, bigger, heavier books – this is the book for you!