From the blurb:
A kitten saved her…
Broke, pregnant and deserted by her boyfriend, Maddie Barrymore swerves to avoid a kitten while driving in a Wisconsin blizzard—and her life takes another turn. Like Puss in Boots, she stays in an empty house. She has the baby, the kitten, gets a job and a degree…yet every day she’s ready to flee if the real owner shows up.
Five years later, he does…
Dumped by the woman he loves, film producer Logan MacLeesh’s heart is as dark as one of his movies. He plans to hole up in his grandmother’s old mansion and throw himself into his work…until he discovers the sexy squatter and her four-year-old son. Before he can call the sheriff, Maddie’s tale of how she ended up there entertains him. They make a deal that as long as she tells him a story every night, she and her son can stay. Even the cat, though Logan’s always been a dog person.
A dog in need of saving…
Far away in another state, a homeless dog lifts his head, sniffs…and smells him. The human who’s meant for him. As he heads through the snow toward the scent, his journey seems impossible, even though it’s Christmas, a time when miracles happen.
I requested this book from NetGalley because I really liked two elements of the premise: squatter and landlord, an interesting new angle for romance; and the deal that Maddie will tell Logan a story each day, which is right up my street (a similar deal I made in my childhood made me the writer I am today, after all!).
I enjoyed the central story – how Maddie and Logan grow close to each other over the course of the book; how Logan learns to let go of his painful past; how Maddie gives herself permission to fall in love; and, finally, how Maddie does battle over her job, with a little support from Logan.
But for me, the best parts of the book are:
1. The sharp, witty dialogue, which really brings the characters to life. There’s a lot of banter, which made me like the characters – although I did wonder how they were quite so comfortable with each other so quickly.
2. The stories that Maddie tells. Her very squatting is inspired by a fairytale (Puss in Boots), and the author expertly retells fairytales in a way that allows the characters to explore their pasts and their futures – a fresh, novel and engaging medium.
I have to confess, I wasn’t overly engaged with the dog point of view in the book, but if you’re a reader who loves cats and dogs, I’m sure this element of the book will be most appealing. Certainly, the ending is a happy one all round that gives that warm glow.
It’s a book set around Christmas time, but don’t let that mean you could only read it then – the Christmas element doesn’t overpower this being a good romance story (with plenty of stories within the narrative to add interest).
A warm, witty, cleverly executed book for readers who like spirit, sass and unconventional romance with a twist of good, old-fashioned connection.
I was offered this book in exchange for a fair review via NetGalley.
Christmas at Angel Lake is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.