Type: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: St Martin’s Paperback
My Copy: Net Galley
It’s Christmas in Jewell Cove, and local doctor Charlie Yang finds her quiet, steady life disrupted by both an abandoned baby in the nativity manger, and a real-life mystery man. Sure, she’s always wanted a family of her own, but she didn’t imagine it coming from a baby that wasn’t hers and a man who was more interested in living day by day than making long-term plans.
Ex-SEAL Dave Ricker hadn’t planned on making Jewell Cove his forever home, but the talented and tender-hearted Charlie has him reconsidering his position on settling down. Can a beautiful woman, adorable baby and a small-town full of holiday spirit change his mind for good? An enjoyable holiday short story filled with emotion and warmth. Two people that want different futures find that they might actually have more in common then they thought.
Charlie Yang is the local doctor who is fairly new to town. She moved here to be part of a community, something she never felt growing up. She is an only child of very productive parents who always put their research studies or work ahead of others and hardly had time for a child. She was a lonely child and thinks about having a family in the future.
Dave Ricker works at the boat docks and is also new to town. He moved to the area to be near his three year old daughter Nora. His life is up in the air, and he has no plans for the future other than to be near his daughter. Charlie and Dave meet while decorating the town for Christmas and again during the tree lighting ceremony and fine there is mutual attraction, it gets complicated when they find a baby in the manger. Charlie wants forever but agrees to a no strings arrangement to please Dave, but she is unhappy and pushes for more, while he backs away.
I went in to this feeling it would be a light hearted romance with Christmas as the background for a fun seasonal read. Yet there is enough emotional turmoil to satisfy those that want more.
Charlie is looking for something she has never had but she still wants to please others and she does it so subtly that it was hard to notice, she agrees to Dave’s suggestion, almost out of habit because to get what she wants, so to be with Dave she sacrifices. Yet she does not want a no strings relationship, she struggles with it daily while they are together and finally when she tells him what she wants, I was cheering her even as he walks away. But she needed to do it and I was proud of her.
Dave is less complicated, he married a woman he considered a good friend but they did not make good partners and because of his job, it was easy for his marriage to dissolve. They have a child and he wants to be part of her life, that is his only mission right now and he does not want anything to complicate it. Unfortunately Charlie wants more. They both do this dance of pushing and pulling not knowing how to proceed until they both just walk away, and it takes some time apart for them to realize what they truly want.
This is small town America and secondary characters are important to the story, Charlie’s partner Josh at the clinic is interesting and I would love to see his story someday, he is a good friend to her while her life is turned upside down. I thought it was interesting that the child they found, Daniel was in most of the scenes but did not seem to change things much, I am not sure that if he was not in the story anything would have been different, but he was cute and it added some drama. All in all this is an emotional story about the futures that two people face and how they go about getting what they want. I am a sucker for Christmas stories so the setting makes it that much more attractive. This is part of a series, but can easily be read as a standalone.
I give Christmas at Seashell Cottage by Donna Alward 4 stars!