At thirty-two Kimberly Rossetti, a finance officer at a Lexus car dealership, has had her heart broken more times than she wants to remember. With two failed engagements, a divorce and again alone with no prospects, she hardly seems the type to dream of being a published romance author. Dreading another holiday alone, she signs up for The Mistletoe Retreat, a nine-day writing retreat in Burlington, VT. Deep inside Kimberly knows she’s at a junction in her life and it’s time to either fulfill her dream or let it go. The other reason she decides to attend the conference is because famed romance writer, H.T. Cowell, once the best selling romance writer in America, and the author whose books instilled in her the desire to be a writer, will be speaking in public for the first time in more than a decade.
In one of her breakout sessions Kimberly meets another aspiring writer, and one of the few men at the conference, Zeke, an intelligent man with a wry wit who seems as interested in Kimberly as he is in the retreat. As Kimberly begins to open up to him about her stories and dreams, she inadvertently reveals her own troubled past. As Zeke helps her to discover why her books fail to live up to their potential she begins to wonder if he’s really talking more about her life than her literature. But as she grows closer to him, she realizes that Zeke has his own darkness, a past he’s unwilling to talk about.
Kim is an aspiring romance writer despite her terrible past with romance. After two failed engagements and a divorce, you’d think she’d want to write anything but romance. However, that’s what she wants to write and until she can get her book published, she stuck at a job that is far off from her dream. So when she gets a flyer in the mail for the Mistletoe Writer’s Retreat, she is very interested in going, especially because her favorite author is going to be making a public appearance there.
At the retreat she makes instant friends with Samantha and the mysterious Zeke. She and Zeke become partners in their workshop group where they have to read each other’s work, which Kim is nervous about because she’s never expressed that kind of vulnerability to anyone before. And opening up to Zeke in one way might end up leading to opening up to him in other ways that she hadn’t anticipated.
Right away I was immersed in the writer aspect of Kim’s character, as a writer myself. It’s on my own bucket list to attend a writing workshop at some point in my life and I would really love it if it was in Vermont, like the retreat is in this book! Vermont is my favorite state to visit and I can only imagine how pretty it must be in winter (though I’m not a fan of the cold). It just seems like the perfect state to be a writer in!
What I love about Evans’s books is that they’re such easy-going reads, even when there are dark pasts involved. It’s hard to stop reading once you start. There’s also the fact that while this is a romance book, it’s also about family as well – both on Kim’s part and a little on Zeke’s. Those relationships are just as important as the romance and I love that Evans includes that aspect in this book.
I usually say this with any Richard Paul Evans book I read, but I highly recommend it. There’s a reason they call him the king of Christmas fiction, and it’s very true. His stories are so heartwarming with characters that are raw and flawed, which you can’t help but relate to in some way or another.
Rating: 5/5 stars