Christmas at Sleigh Bell Farm by Kaylie Newell

Christmas at Sleigh Bell Farm by Kaylie Newell
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full length (161 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

It’s going to take more than luck to make his Christmas dreams come true

Jim “Lucky” Elliott is the country boy next door – charismatic, handsome and charming. But when he has to drop out of vet school to try and rescue his grandparents’ Marietta-based sleigh ride business and family farm, Lucky faces his hardest struggle yet.

Podcaster Rachel O’Rourke is done with broken hearts, but she can still find joy in other people’s happily-ever-afters. When she holds a contest on her show for the best first kiss story, her bruised heart beats a little faster when she reads Lucky’s submission. He doesn’t have a story, but his grandparents do, and free advertising for the winner is just what he’s looking for.
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As they start spending time on the farm, Rachel finds herself not only drawn to the sweet setting, but also to the man. But when a real estate developer sets his sights on the Elliott land, Lucky will have to decide if the money means security for his family, or if he’ll fight for Sleigh Bell with Rachel by his side.

Reading this book was like overdosing on sugar. It was heavenly in the beginning, impossible to stop and then melancholy when it was over. I wish I had read it in moderation so that it was properly savored. Unfortunately time wasn’t my ally. I was determined to read this book before Christmas. In fact, I tried to start it three times and was derailed. Today is Christmas Eve and I finally sat down from all the hustle and bustle and gave myself some well-deserved “me time”.

Many of my friends and I enjoy watching Christmas romance movies on the Hallmark channel. Christmas at Sleigh Bell Farm would make a wonderful addition to Hallmark’s movie list. I’m excited that this was the first book in the The Elliotts of Montana Book Series. I am definitely interested in reading book two. It’s impossible to not fall in love with the Elliotts. They are a loving family that I’d like to get to know more.

To be honest, I am thinking that I will enjoy the second book more because I’m hoping that it will be about one of Jim “Lucky” Elliott’s older brothers. Christmas at Sleigh Bell Farm was Lucky’s story. While he made a heartwarming hero in this story, he was the youngest and still struggling with the transition into manhood. I prefer my men to be already established. I understand the entire plot evolved around his transitioning from following his dreams vs. seeking his father’s approval. The plot was contemporary, sweet and enjoyable. I just prefer a hero that is secure and stable, and can stand on his own two feet, confident in his decisions. As the synopsis stated, Lucky really is “the country boy next door-charismatic, handsome and charming”.

The heroine, Rachel, was actually the stronger of the two leading characters. She wasn’t afraid to take a risk in order to make her dreams come true. She encouraged Lucky and gave him strength to follow his heart. It’s not often the hero is the vulnerable one so it did make for an interesting read. Rachel and Lucky’s dynamics worked thanks to the writing style. I’ve never read a Kaylie Newell book before but I am willing to read another story by her. I’m just hoping the next one will have a slightly more confident hero.

The narrative itself might not win any originality awards, and while there wasn’t much conflict or surprise plot twists, I was perfectly fine with the sequence of events. It was relaxing to read a smooth, comforting feel-good story. With all the hustle and bustle going on in my house, it was the perfect read to escape the stress of the holiday.

I love reading romance stories set in the winter during the holiday season.  I definitely give it a thumbs up.

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