A Fool’s Gold Christmas

   Susan Mallery

Harlequin, 2012

   Synopsis: Fool’s Gold is a great little matriarchal town whose dearth of males has resulted in the leadership, from the mayor to the fire chief, being female. Evie Stryker is new to town, coming as a result of her brothers’ coaxing to recuperate from an injury. She is not only worn out physically, but emotionally, and not happy about living near her mother with whom she has a dysfunctional relationship. Ms. Mallery puts a twist on this family’s dynamics in a way that makes Evie a double-loser: bad enough to be at odds with her mother, but her brothers have enjoyed a great relationship with same mother.

Evie has a lot going on with her brothers and mother pushing for reconciliation, plus dealing with the loss of her dream to be a professional ballet dancer. As a stop gap, she becomes the temporary director of the local dance studio. To her surprise she enjoys imparting her gift with her students and helping them gain self-confidence and grace as they study dance.

The only dark spot is the tenant above the dance studio who vehemently dislikes hearing her students during his working hours, and who turns out to be her brother’s attorney and her next-door neighbor. Neither Evie nor Dante are interested in a relationship – both are wounded from previous loves and their childhoods – but they find themselves thrown together because of their solitary lifestyles. An unlikely friendship deepens into an affair. Aware of their growing feelings for each other, they each must face the demons from their past before forging a new relationship.

My Take: I liked Fools Gold Christmas. This feel-good story is great escapism. The problems were genuinely serious and yet solved in a way that made sense for the characters. As Evie and Dante faced the scars from their childhoods they emerge stronger and more able to engage in a mature lasting relationship.

My Rating: 5 out of 5. Give yourself an early Christmas present and read it.

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