This book was awful. My say something nice is that I liked the cover. That's all I really got here. I am realizing that my Achilles heel for romance reads are any books that deal with widows or widowers finding love again. Not to say that they should not in real life. I just hate how the authors set things up as a competition between old and new love. Why is it always treated as some terrible thing if someone found love before you met them? I would be happy that the other person experienced before even if it resulted in someone dying. I just found the hero (Mark) to be a hypocrite of the first order throughout this book. It didn't help that he was romancing the heroine (Maggie) even though he was dating someone else. Another Achilles heel for my romance reads. You can't have one person dating someone else when the heroine or hero comes into play.
Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor is the first book in the Friday Harbor series. I am guessing the other books follow the Nolan brothers. Isn't it grand I have no intention of reading past this book so I have no way of knowing :-) Yeah for me. Mark Nolan is left in a tizzy when his sister dies in a car accident. She leaves behind 6 year old Holly and asks Mark to raise her since their parents were dumpster fire people, her one brother is immature (Sam), and the other one is a hard nosed businessman (Alex) with a wife who sounds like a pain in the ass. Mark manages to strong arm his brother Sam into helping to raise Hope. He also moves them both into Sam's home that is located on a vineyard.
Fast forward several months later and Mark reads a letter that Holly wrote to Santa asking for him to send her a mother. So now Mark is all I must marry and provide Holly with a mother. Instead of doing what any other person would have done which is hold Holly, tell her you love her, and tell her stories about her mother.
Mark sucked. He is dating someone at the start of this book who he is dismissive of almost the entire book. When he first meets Maggie at her store, he acts skeptical when she talks about fairies and magic to Holly. Yet he is still drawn to her and starts thinking about having sex with her. Maggie has been widowed two years, and loves that she was able to set up a children's toy store. Though she doesn't feel ready to move on from her husband, everyone else acts like two years is more than adequate for her to get out there and date again. Though she really should be avoiding Mark (who is dating someone by the way) she starts catching feelings for him too.
The scenes between these two were lackluster. There was zero chemistry and reading about how attracted Mark was to Maggie drove me up the wall. It didn't help that Mark decides at one point that Sam should go and check out Maggie in case he wants to date her. Cause Maggie has no say in this at all. Gah. And then we get Mark saying that Maggie just needs to get over her husband being dead, cause it's been two years. When we do get to their love scene I laughed out loud by Maggie telling him to love her. Sorry, I am a Grinch today I guess.
I also had a hard time with the fact that Holly is often mentioned, but never interacts unless it's for a plot point. For example, Holly gets sick, Sam lets Mark know while Mark is away visiting his girlfriend and instead of Mark spending time with her and her friends, insists on going home because Holly needs him. Of course girlfriend is made to look like a totally terrible person even though she points out that Sam is there and can handle things.
The book goes round and round and I just didn't enjoy it. Things end in a HEA that just felt below average to me. I like to do a pretend game after I finished a terrible book about what happened to the characters. I am going to pretend that Maggie and Mark got married, had two more kids, raised Holly, and eventually Mark dies when Holly is 18. Then everyone encourages Maggie to start dating within two years.