- Title: Hope for the Holidays
- Author: Daryl Wood Gerber
- Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
- Genre: Holiday Romance
- Would I recommend: If you’re a fan of sweet romance set in a small town at Christmas, you need to read this one!
Hope Lyons’s husband ran through all their money and split Portland, Oregon, forcing Hope to sell her beloved Pie in the Sky bakery and move with her two children back to charming Hope Valley, her hometown. She has been working as a waitress and pinching pennies to get their lives back on track; however, when her children win KPRL’s Spirit of Christmas vacation contest, Hope worries about the extra expenses she will incur on such a trip and turns it down. Steve Waldren, the handsome KPRL sports anchor, is now of an age where he can’t afford to have a gap on his resume. His confidence is already shaky, ever since his fiancée dumped him, claiming Steve would never reach his potential. When Steve’s boss dubs Steve to be Giveaway Santa, he’s forced to accept. Steve, as Santa, readily travels to Hope Valley to award the prize. But when Hope refuses it, he’s at a loss. His boss threatens to fire him if he doesn’t convince Hope to take it, and Steve does all he can to change her mind. But Hope can be stubborn, life can be a challenge, and Hope’s children can be unpredictable. Not to mention, the truth isn’t always what it seems. Will Hope and Steve find their happily ever after? It might take a holiday miracle.
You may know Daryl Wood Gerber as an author of delightful cozy mysteries or gripping suspense novels. But guess what? She also writes a fantastic romance!
Hope Lyons is living her dream of owning a bakery. My heart just broke for her when she realized that, thanks to her husband’s spendthrift ways, her dream was no longer sustainable. She adulted like a boss, sold the bakery, and moved herself and her two kids back to her hometown of Hope Valley. A job at a cafe lets her provide for herself and the kids, but money is tight, and she can’t see how she’ll ever save enough to rebuild her bakery dream.
Steve Waldren is the sports anchor for KPRL. His high-maintenance fiancée is pushing him to make a move to a much larger market where her career can thrive, and when he hesitates to do that, she dumps him (or maybe he dumps her – either way, the relationship ceased to be). Steve’s boss is threatening to fire him, so when he’s sent on a trip to Hope Valley to award the station’s holiday prize, Steve has no choice but to put on his Santa suit and go. He figures he’ll hand off the prize and be done. But Hope’s kids are the winners, and much to Steve’s bewilderment, she declines the trip. She knows it will come with expenses she can’t cover. But if Steve takes her “no” for an answer, he can kiss his job goodbye.
The romance between Hope and Steve is a bit of a slow burn, but the attraction is there early on, even if they take a while to admit it to each other. I felt a bit bad for Steve that he had to be so pushy about Hope accepting the trip, because left to his own devices, I’m pretty sure that wasn’t how he would have chosen to proceed with her. And it was occasionally frustrating that Hope wouldn’t give more explanation as to why she really wasn’t comfortable accepting the prize. I get it, though. When you’re in a financial bind, pride won’t always let you open up and share details about your circumstances. And knowing from the reader perspective that they were attracted to each other but couldn’t seem to get past that dadgum prize, well, that was deliciously maddening! Made me want to keep turning pages to see how Gerber would unravel everything.
And unravel it she does! I’m not giving the details. I’ll just say that some people get what they deserve, and if you like a good happily ever after, this one will leave you wiping away tears of happiness. Gerber wraps things up like a sparkly, shiny present under the tree, and the world being what it is, I think we can all benefit from a warm, fuzzy holiday romance where everything works out in true storybook fashion.
Thank you to the author for a review copy. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.