The Gingerbread Lodge by Vicky Burkholder

The Gingerbread Lodge by Vicky Burkholder
Christmas Cookies
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Contemporary, Holiday
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

Gisele Reid returns to the Gingerbread Lodge to help her aunt, but without paying guests, she’s afraid the lodge will have to be sold. An event she vows to stop. When an old friend shows up, she is astonished to find Max has turned into a man who makes her knees and heart tremble.

Max Oakley, a developer, has a client interested in buying land around the lodge. He has fond memories of the resort, as well as the girl who left him behind. When he runs into Gisele again, she’s even more beautiful than ever. A woman who could make him forget everything—even his job.

Plumbing problems, electrical outages, and the return of Gisele’s family throw a wrench into Max’s plans to woo Gisele. But when the truth comes out, she believes he’s betrayed her trust, and it will take a Christmas miracle to make everything right again.

It’s never too late to start over again.

One of my favorite things about this novella was how it included the paranormal elements of the storyline. They were hinted at here and there without ever becoming the focal point of the plot. This was the perfect approach to the topic given how logical Gisele and Max were in their daily lives. A touch of something otherworldly was all that was needed to give this tale a little Christmas magic.

I would have liked to see a bit more attention paid to the ending, especially when it came to conflict resolution. Some of the subplots were resolved much more quickly and easily than I expected them to be based on the amount of attention they’d received in earlier scenes as well as the length of time the characters had mentioned being bothered by them. As happy as I was to see how everything turned out, it would have been helpful to see more examples of the work the characters needed to put into those issues in order to fix them for good.

Gisele and Max’s relationship was delightful. Not only did they have wonderful chemistry, their shared history explained so many about why they each behaved the way they did and why neither of them had found anyone to settle down with yet. I also liked the fact that the author gave these two characters such a slow-burning romance. Stretching out the placements of those scenes made me anticipate the next romantic moment between them as the plot moved forward.

This is part of a series, but it works perfectly well as a standalone work.

The Gingerbread Lodge was a cheerful Christmas story that I’d recommend to anyone who is counting down the days until December finally arrives.

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