For those of you missing the holidays already, here is a lovely Christmas novella with a surprising amount of character development. There wasn’t space to really delve into their transformations, but the author did a wonderful job of showing what had gone wrong before, and how Brenna and Luke had matured. I would have liked to see the resolution in the brother as well, but it’s a minor quibble in a lively story of second chances and forgiveness.
There is a scene later in the story that felt like it came a bit out of nowhere right up until the end when it resolved something about what happened eight years before in a beautiful way. Though the writing got rough at points, the characters were strong and believable, making me want to know them better. That’s true for most of the secondary characters as well.
The biggest strength I found, though, was in how the change wasn’t all one-sided. They’d been childhood sweethearts, and Brenna destroyed all that in the way she went about pursuing her love of acting. It could easily have turned into a story about her coming crawling back, having failed miserably. That’s there in part, but what makes the story strong is how she comes to realize the dream was not the problem but rather the choices she made in her pursuit. Most importantly, Luke wakes up to the choices he made as well. He wasn’t as much of the victim he’d thought himself, and he has to face the consequences of his decisions as well before moving forward.
For such a short work, there’s a lot of real meat here about relationships and what it takes to earn that happy ending.
P.S. I read this novella as part of the Love’s Gift box set.