For believers in kismet, miracles, and a different kind of romance (think an idealized slice-of-life at turbo speed), “The Christmas War” fits the bill with an enjoyable twist near the end. Becca Cavington, or Beck as she likes to be called, is the proud owner of decadence candy shop, Sweets and Treats, with a pregnant best friend, a largely unstable “witch” of a mother, and a not quite angelic (and insistent) hankering for the new minister in town. The romantic arch is rather more direct than it may appear, however. Beck and ex-soldier/new minister Hank essentially meet, have amazing chemistry, hop into bed (which we are not privy to, it is just implied and recalled, which is a nice change), go house hunting, and over the course of literally a few days, wind up married and wealthy. That is the End, period. On the other hand, Irene Cavington- “Mommy Dearest”, indeed- is a very interesting study in that the more you learn about her, the more you despise her. From her elitist attitude to her complete narcissism towards anyone in her way, I felt she was, for the most part, portrayed as a very one-dimensional, though curiously entertaining character. I really couldn’t help but compare her to that one girl/guy on every daytime soap opera that EVERY one just hates, but still tunes in to watch.
Though a very short read at under 75 pages, enough background was packed into the story that those that hadn’t read the first book in the series were never left completely hanging as to the main characters’ histories, which was great. What was not great was that, while the story was labeled as a romance, I felt that the romance was rather open and closed, there was little time taken for true involvement in the characters’ personalities, and that the mother’s treachery and drama were the main plot catalysts for the entire story (which was implied by the synopsis, so should be taken literally, dear readers). And in fair warning, the most adults-only scene in the entire novelette, that of her friend’s water birth, was handled well if VERY unexpected, and might be a bigger deterrent for some readers than graphic love scenes. In all, for a quick diversion, given its length, AND if read as a simplistic, inspirational romance, readers should take to “The Christmas War”, be it the holidays or not. However, for me, while enjoyable, a little more getting-to-know-you in my romance and a little less villain in my short fiction is much preferred.
Irene Cavington must get her daughter Beck safely married before Beck turns 35 to someone she can control or at the very least someone who is as desperate to hold onto the life style she’s become accustomed to he will fall into Irene’s line. Failure is not an option.
Unfortunately Beck is not cooperating. Worse, there’s a new minister in town that Beck seems determine to flaunt before Irene’s increasingly enraged self.
No way can Irene have this usurper from the wrong side of the social Mason-Dixon line screwing with her carefully laid plans, and the sooner they are both set right, the sooner Irene can retire to the secret luxury she has waiting in the wings.
Drastic measures are called for and no one does “Drastic Measures” better than Irene Carrington.