Review: A Christmas Bride by Hope Ramsay

A Christmas Bride by Hope Ramsay
Series:  Chapel of Love (# 1)
Release Date:  September 27, 2016
Publisher: Forever
Pages:  336
Source: book provided by NetGalley for review



A season of hope . . .
‘Tis the season in Shenandoah Falls and the first time Willow Peterson has been home in years. But she’s determined to fulfill the wishes of her recently deceased best friend and restore Eagle Hill Manor to its former glory-all in time to host the perfect holiday wedding. She just has to get the owner of the historic inn to hire her. Unfortunately, that means dealing with Scrooge himself…

After the death of his wife, David Lyndon has a bah-humbug approach to Christmas. But as December counts down and the wedding planning is in full swing, it’s harder and harder to stay immune to the charms of Willow, especially when he sees how much joy she brings his eight-year-old daughter. After a simple kiss under the mistletoe turns into something more, David is hoping he can turn the magic of the holiday season into the love of a lifetime.


Review:  If you like contemporary romances that are heartwarming with a little bit of a bite, Ramsay is an author for you.

Willow and Daniel both come from dysfunctional families for very different reasons.  Willow’s mom lives on a farm and is still a hippy.  It’s purported that she grows marijuana but no one seems to know for sure. Linda still stages protests, she’s a vegan and sees auras plus Willow’s dad was a drugged out rocker that killed himself.  Willow couldn’t leave town fast enough for college since she felt like she never fit in but is now disgraced due to a complaint she’s made as a whistleblower at the company she previously worked for.  It didn’t help that she had also been having an affair with the CEO.   Daniel’s family is powerful in politics and in their small town.  When his mom, Pam, speaks everyone is supposed to jump and look out if they don’t do as she expects! Every social event, even a wedding, turns into a fundraiser for the family’s coffers to help get them into or remain in political office.  Daniel has been groomed his whole life to be a Congressman but is that what he really wants or is he just following the party line of what’s expected?  His first wife, Shelly, died two years ago in an Amtrak derailment and he’s raising their eight year old daughter, Natalie, himself with some help from the family.  Willow was his wife’s best friend and when she comes back to town she and Daniel not only have a past but lots of sizzling interactions now and hope for the future, or do they?

When Willow gets involved in Shelly’s family’s inn, Eagle Hill Manor, which is in disrepair and on the verge of being sold, look out.  She tries to bring Shelly’s vision to life on a much smaller scale especially when Daniel’s cousin, Jeff and his fiance, Melissa, want to have their wedding there.  Can she pull it off and what will the repercussions be if she does?  What secrets does Willow know about Shelly that her husband was never privy to?  There are quite a few twists and turns and some setbacks before things in Daniel’s life can move forward but do they with Willow involved and still at the helm of some of it?

There are family and friends, secrets both kept and revealed, fear, anger, hurt, sadness, evil intent, reminisces, a little girl who needs happiness in her life, a powerful family that needs not to always get their own way and run roughshod over anyone or anything in their path, laughter, happiness, a lightheartedness, lots of wedding plans, a community that works together for the common good – excluding the Lyndon’s of course, some loving and love and a few happily ever afters, some in the offing.  There were some events/conflicts that I didn’t see coming and others that were expected.  There were several happily ever afters and nice closure. The epilogue, set a year later, ties up the loose ends nicely but left me wanting more.  I can’t wait to be back in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to see what happens next to the Lyndon family as well as Willow’s.  The excerpt of book two in the series, A Small Town Bride, just whet my appetite for more!

Ramsay is an author I’ve always planned on reading but somehow never have.  I’ve  added all the books from her Last Chance series as well as the novella, A Fairytale Bride and book two, A Small Town Bride, both from her new Chapel of Love series to my always growing TBR pile.

Favorite Quote:  “Oh, I get it now.  That totally explains the crying jag.  You avoided the heartbreak.”