REVIEW: A Fool’s Gold Christmas by Susan Mallery
Even if you don’t read the FOOL’S GOLD series, you’ll still enjoy this book because this couple is so very charming. If you love a friends to lovers theme, then grab this book and enjoy this sassy dancer and the lawyer who can’t stop imagining her in a leotard.
A Fool’s Gold Christmas by Susan Mallery
Series: Fool’s Gold, Book 9.5
Category: Contemporary Small Town
Publisher: Harlequin HQN (released September 25, 2012)
Rated 4 out of 5 Stars
Book and Review courtesy of Romance Junkies.
The thing that I love most about Susan Mallery’s books is that they’re so easy to read. It’s like sitting down with an old friend and catching up—whether you read the series or not. A FOOL’S GOLD CHRISTMAS centers on the small town’s celebrations while two people try to avoid getting involved in them. The main couple’s repartee made for some entertaining reading. The quirky antics of the residents and their unusual holiday celebrations add a spark to an already fun time of the year. Even the animals get into the season’s celebrations so animal lovers will get their fix too.
Dante Jefferson moved to Fool’s Gold, California to set up his law practice with his business partner, Rafe Stryker. Dante is not a fan of holidays or the cozy-family-thing since the death of his mother. Feeling that her death was his fault, Dante has sworn off love so that he will never hurt anyone else. But how can he ignore the holidays when the dance instructor and her students are clomping above his head everyday, getting ready for the big season production? He should be especially leery since he has just realized that the sexy dance instructor is Rafe’s sister. He shouldn’t have anything but platonic thoughts about his best friend’s sister. Dante soon realizes that even though the dancers are noisy, often interrupting his work schedule, he can’t contain his attraction to their instructor, with or without Rafe’s approval.
Evie Stryker’s family meant well when they brought her to Fool’s Gold to recover from her injury. Evie’s dancing career is over but relying on her estranged family’s assistance is beyond what she can endure so she accepts the dance instructor job and moves into a townhouse temporarily. She did not expect the other instructor to run off with her boyfriend and leave Evie to handle the season production of “The Dance of the Winter King” alone. In addition to that, she has her brother’s bossy business partner, who is also too attractive for Evie’s sanity, stressing about the noise and tempting her into a friendship that she’s sure she will regret. Evie just wants to stay in Fool’s Gold long enough to heal her injury, satisfy her student’s expectations for the year end show and then move on somewhere else, away from the family who never loved her enough in the past.
Right away I was caught up in the witty exchange between Dante and Evie when they first meet. Evie is beyond exasperated with the responsibilities that are now hers. All Dante wants is to have the cloggers stop their incessant noise so he can finish his contract negotiations by phone in Shanghai. His office is below the dance studio so unless they come to an understanding, one of them is going to have to leave and it’s definitely not going to be Dante. He never backs down.
When Evie discovers that Dante lives in the townhouse next door to her, and he arrives home bearing food with an invitation to join him, she knows she’s doomed. They settle in for food and wine together, where a friendship begins and much more promises to follow if their undeniable attraction to each other has any influence.
What I liked best from the beginning of A FOOL’S GOLD CHRISTMAS is the dialogue between Dante and Evie. Their constant teasing back and forth was guarded, yet flirty. Neither one of them wants a relationship, so they agree to help each other through the upcoming holiday season that they both despise. Dante or Evie don’t feel any special family bonding so it’s them against the family-feel of Fool’s Gold. It seems simple enough but the reader knows that this sassy spark that they have going will surely develop into more. That’s the best part, knowing that they’re meant for each other, even though they have some very rocky roads to go through to get there.
Fans of Susan Mallery’s FOOL’S GOLD series will enjoy the cameo appearances of other characters from previous books. As someone who hasn’t read the series, I found that the catch-up with the various characters toward the middle of the book slowed it down a bit for me. I had become very attached to Dante and Evie, so I was in a hurry to find out what happened next. That said, I didn’t feel lost as the characters’ relationships were explained; I was just anxious to read more about Dante and Evie.
An emotional story about family dynamics and forgiveness, A FOOL’S GOLD CHRISTMAS showcases the protective nature of family. Susan Mallery’s characterization is fun-loving and addictive. You’re sure to shed a tear before Evie allows her estranged family’s love to enfold her, but the upbeat repartee will keep you smiling.
Please note – this book is available in Hardcover now, plus, it will release in Mass Market paperback, eBook and Audio on October 29, 2013.
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What’s on your Mountain? Did you know about Susan Mallery’s cookbook, Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold Cookbook: A Love Story Told Through 150 Recipes, coming out on August 27, 2013? Have you tried any of her other books?
August 16, 2013 at 9:19 am
I’ve never read Susan Mallery’s work, mainly because she writes contemps and I prefer historicals. But I do like the idea of her character banter. I agree with your assessment that that kind of written conversation can really draw the reader deeper into the story. Thanks for your review.
kareninnc at gmail dot com
August 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm
I don’t normally read many contems. Paranormals are my thing but I do like me soem witty repartee. May have to check her out time permitting.
August 17, 2013 at 6:32 am
I’m really a historical romance reader. Susan Mallery and Robin Carr are two Authors whose contemporary work I love reading. It’s just like you said. Like sitting down with a friend and just talking life and love. I enjoy this series so much. You’ll enjoy reading Rafe’s story too.I still have a lot of catching up but the books I’ve read so far in this series are awesome.
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com
August 17, 2013 at 10:22 am
Love Susan Mallery’s books and the new A Fool’s Gold Christmas sure sounds and looks good. I am so happy to have join this group and look forward to more fun filled months to come. sue Leech
August 17, 2013 at 11:42 am
Thanks for your comments…Karen, Pam, Carol and Sue –so glad you’re enjoying the blog and I love reading your thoughts on the books you like to read.
What’s funny is that I’ve always been a historical fiction and historical romance reader for most of my teenaged and adult reading life. Then one day, a couple of historical authors put some fantasy and/or paranormal elements into their books and I was hooked. I think it was Claire Delacroix who put a fairie in one of her historicals that had me shaking my head at first, but that was my favorite part of the book by the end.
As for contemporaries — it was my reading friends at Romance Junkies who got me started on those. Once you try one and realize that they don’t necessarily replace your historical or paranormal cravings, that they just add a new nuance to your reading pleasure, then you’ll start layering them in-between your historical and/or paranormal reads like I did.
I think I read more contemporaries than anything now because it’s that light, witty banter and the great emotional stories that get to me every time 🙂
This book had everything in it from a deeply touching emotional story to witty banter that made me smile. Evie Stryker is a realistic and likable heroine who I think is relatable to most in some way.
Let me know if you try it and if you think the same. The good news is that the book will be available in Mass Market paperback in October so the price is right 🙂