Mistletoe on Main Street by Olivia Miles
Series: Briar Creek #1
Also in this series: Love Blooms on Main Street, Christmas Comes to Main Street
Published by Forever
Publication Date: September 30th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Briar Creek's quaint shop windows, cozy homes nestled in snow, and neighborly residents are what Christmas dreams are made of--for everyone except Grace Madison. She left her hometown years ago to pursue a writing career. But when her father's death leaves his bookstore empty, Grace must return to face why she fled Vermont in the first place: Luke Hastings, who still heats her up like a shot of smoky whiskey on a cold winter's night.
Grace is back, and Luke is worried. How much has she changed as a bestselling author in the big city? What memories will she stir up? And was the choice he made five years ago the biggest mistake of his life?
Now, with their past, present, and future rocking around the Christmas tree, it's time for Grace and Luke to face the music . . . and the mistletoe.
Grace and Luke were great friends before they saw each other as more. They were just 14 years old or so when they started dating and continued on that path for the next 10 years. Luke had every intention of asking Grace to marry him but she kept stating how boring their town of Briar Creek was. It wasn’t exciting enough for her and she wanted the big city. Luke knew that Briar Creek was his home and he didn’t want to live anywhere else. He finally realized that in order for Grace to fulfill her dreams he was going to have to let her go. He wasn’t happy about it and frankly neither was Grace, so she ended up moving to New York City.
Grace returned 6 months after she left seeking out Luke, wanting to win him back but by that time he was with Helen who he was engaged to. It’s now 5 years later and Grace is back for the 3rd time. The first was when she returned to try and win Luke, the second was when her dad died and now she’s back for Christmas. Her sister Jane asked her to come as their mother is having such a hard time dealing with life and Christmas.
Grace plans to stay far away from Luke but that doesn’t happen. He’s doing his own mourning – for his wife Helen who died two years prior and he can’t seem to let her or his guilty feelings go. That doesn’t stop him from seeking Grace out and enjoying her company.
Grace has decisions to make. She is a well known author who didn’t get such great reviews on her last book. Her writing muse has completely escaped her, her relationship recently tanked in NY, she’s been living on a friends’ couch and now she finds out that the bookstore her father owned has been shut down since right after he died. Grace decides that she’s going to try to make the store work once again, and even expand but that involves Luke in a roundabout way. Grace decides that she not only wants the bookstore in her life and to permanently live in Briar Creek but she wants Luke back as well. The problem with that decision is that Luke isn’t necessarily on board with it. He can’t seem to get past Helen, her death and what moving forward with Grace will mean for his feelings for Helen.
The first novel in the Briar Creek series was a good one. I really liked the town a lot and loved the Christmas spirit that everyone had. The town seemed quaint, cute and made me want to visit there so I could see all of the wonderful Christmas decorations as well. 🙂
Grace and Luke had a long history. I think after being apart for 5 years they each knew they had changed from the people they were before but it took a bit of time to come to that conclusion. They still had feelings for each other that had never gone away but they were each so leery to move forward. There were trust issues as well as deciding on their level of commitment together.
For Grace moving forward meant that she needed to stay in Briar Creek and fight the fear that she was making the wrong decisions for her life. She felt guilt about being away from her family for so long and losing the last years of her father’s life by never returning from NY. I love how she finally decided to put her family first and stay in BC.
For Luke moving forward was a bit more complicated. He had loved Grace but she didn’t want the same things he did in life so he felt he needed to let her go. The fact that he loved her as much as he said he did and then was seeing someone else and engaged just 6 months later made me raise my eyebrows, that’s for sure. I mean, 6 months? I can see dating someone else but already engaged? I found that really strange. Several years into the relationship with Helen he started to doubt himself and planned to talk to her about it when he found her dead. He’d lived the last two years dealing with the guilt of not loving her enough and he had to get past that before he could be with Grace. I did think that the ending of the book, where he finally came to Grace with an open head and heart was done a bit too quickly. I wanted more groveling! He kind of made an ass of himself with her and I truly wanted him to work a little harder for her. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.
In this story we also got to see parts of Grace’s sisters’ lives as well. Jane is married with a 4 year old daughter, Sophie, who is freaking adorable. I loved the parts of the book with her in it. Jane has a husband who is having an affair and the story tells us of Jane and how she deals with it all – especially around Christmas. We also got just a bit from Grace’s other sister, Anna, who runs a coffee shop. She is belligerent toward Grace at first but warms up after a time. We get the hints that there’s something going on with Anna and Luke’s cousin, Mark, but that’s not confirmed in the book.
While parts of the book were pretty intense and some parts were sad there were also happy times that put a smile on my face. Miles has gotten me invested in Briar Creek and I’m looking forward to reading the next book about Anna.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
This title is available from Forever Publishing. You can buy it here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.