Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley
The unrelenting cheer in Fool’s Gold, California, is bringing out the humbug in dancer Evie Stryker. She learned early on that Christmas miracles don’t happen, at least not for her. And this year seems like no exception. An injury has forced her to return to the family fold, no matter that they’re estranged. She won’t add to the awkward scenario by being seduced by the bad-boy charms of her brother’s best friend, the last man she should ever want to date. Even when she’s recruited to stage the Fool’s Gold winter festival, she vows to do as promised, then move forward with her life anywhere but here.
Jaded lawyer Dante Jefferson is getting used to the backwater town he now reluctantly calls home, but the pounding of little dancers’ feet above his temporary office is more than any man should have to take! When he confronts their gorgeous teacher, he’s unprepared for the attraction that sears him down to the soul. Evie is his best friend’s sister—off-limits unless he’s willing to risk his heart. Dante has always believed that love is the most dangerous force in the universe, but that was before he had to reckon with the magic of a certain small town, where miracles do seem to happen…
In A Fool’s Gold Christmas, Susan Mallery completes the Stryker siblings saga. The tantalizing glimpses of Evangeline “Evie” Stryker in the previous books reveal the strained relationship she shares with her siblings and her mom. Can Evie find it in her heart to forgive the mistakes of the past?
I have been looking forward to Evie’s story ever since her character was introduced in the previous Fool’s Gold novels starring her brothers Rafe, Shane and Clay. My heart positively ached for her when I read about her dysfunctional and neglectful childhood and her current estrangement with her family. I was eager to see if there was any possible way to mend the horrible rift between Evie, her brothers and her mother, May. Much to my delight, not only does Evie resolve her issues with her family, but she finds love with Rafe’s business partner, Dante Jefferson.
Conceived during a one night stand, Evie Stryker is a half-sister to Rafe, Shane and Clay. May and her three sons shared a close relationship and Evie was forever on the outside looking in while growing up. Leaving home at age seventeen, Evie has had little contact over the years with her brothers or mother. That is until she breaks her leg and her family moves her back to Fool’s Gold. Biding her time until she can leave, Evie maintains a uneasy truce with her siblings and the women in their lives. With good reason, she avoids May as much as possible. But in true Fool’s Gold fashion, the town slowly works its way into her heart, and she finds that leaving it and her family behind may not be possible after all.
Dante Jefferson is as wounded as Evie. A love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of guy, Dante protects his heart at all costs. He is always upfront that there is a shelf life to his relationships and he is careful to maintain an emotional distance. With neither one of them looking forward to the upcoming Christmas holiday, Dante and Evie embark on a casual, no strings attached affair.
Evie and Dante share so much in common that they really are perfect for each other. Neither gives their trust easily, both cannot wait to leave Fool’s Gold behind and Christmas is a holiday they would much rather avoid than celebrate. Throw in an incredible sexual attraction and it is little wonder they decide to indulge in some hot between the sheets action. A genuine friendship emerges as they spend their free time together helping out in various activities around Fool’s Gold. Dante is incredibly supportive of Evie, and he gives her some pretty good advice about dealing with her mother. Of course neither plans on falling in love and it shakes up both their lives when they discover their hearts have become in involved.
In Summer Days, May Stryker was quite whimsical but she gradually becomes more grounded during the following three novels. In All Summer Long, the cracks in her status as perfect mother become readily apparent as she reveals the mistakes she made with Evie. How someone could be such a wonderful, caring mom to her three sons yet be so neglectful of her daughter is absolutely astonishing. In A Fool’s Gold Christmas, she is ready to make amends for her mistakes and she is genuinely remorseful for how she treated Evie over the years. Evie and May have a long-awaited discussion about their past and both women are at last able to see things from each others’ perspectives.
The town and citizens of Fool’s Gold figure prominently in A Fool’s Gold Christmas. The sense of community is always obvious and I love how they always pull together to help one another when needed. Fans will love catching up with their favorite characters and once again, Ms. Mallery tempts us with glimpses of the characters in upcoming novels. I am especially intrigued with Gideon Boylan and I think it is incredibly cruel I have to wait until next year to read his story !
Once again, Susan Mallery brings her readers a captivating story of forgiveness that is quite heartwarming and touching. Witty banter, lovable characters and a charming town make A Fool’s Gold Christmas a must read for anyone who loves a good story that is full of heart.
I highly recommend this latest installment in the Fool’s Gold series.
Read my reviews of the other novels in the Fool’s Gold series HERE.