I absolutely l-o-v-e the holidays and enjoy reading stories with a holiday theme during this time of year… so I had to read Jaci Burton’s novella. While I usually read Burton for the heat, All She Wants For Christmas is more of the sweet and romantic type which is perfect for my sweeter holiday side. It’s a story of forgiveness, family, love and faith.
Burton gives us a genuine, likable character in the heroine, country singer Riley Jensen. The story opens as Riley returns to her hometown, something she never considered doing until her publicist set up a taping for a documentary there. Years before when Riley was only eighteen, she left town after finding her boyfriend and best friend together in bed. Running away brought her something her hometown could never give her - a music career. Now with ten years of hit songs and Grammy awards to her name, Riley is heading home for Christmas. And the person she most hopes to avoid – her old boyfriend, Ethan – is one of the first people she sees when she steps out of her tour bus.
Ethan can’t believe Riley has come back after so long. He still loves her but knows it would be best to avoid a reunion with his past girlfriend so she can just leave and continue her singing career. Now a widower with a little girl who loves Riley’s music, he takes her to see Riley as she arrives in their town and is drawn into the reunion he both hoped to avoid and secretly desired more than anything at the same time.
In a paced storyline, Riley and Ethan come to terms with their past, find forgiveness and are able to look towards their future. Uncovering the misperceptions that set Riley and Ethan on their chosen paths provided the foundation for a strong plot. Their relationship progresses slowly, overcoming realistic obstacles to find their connection again.
For those who want a romantic holiday story, this is for you. Though Burton did a nice job of telling the story in a short format, I still wish it was a bit longer. I’m also wishing that next Christmas, perhaps Brody or Wyatt, Ethan’s brothers, may find love in their own stories.