There's no place like home for the holidays. And the Lucky Harbor Bed & Breakfast is bursting with festive lights and good cheer. But for Mia, Christmas is turning out to be anything other than merry and bright. Her recent break-up with her boyfriend Nick has made her return bittersweet. But then a surprise arrives, when Nick follows her to town bearing gifts-and asking for forgiveness.
Nick grew up without a family of his own so he's overwhelmed by the love that Mia receives from all her relatives, gathered together to celebrate the season. Under their watchful eyes, Nick finds earning back her trust the hardest thing he's ever had to do. If he succeeds, he will receive the greatest gift of all, Mia's love for a lifetime.
Type: Contemporary Romance, Short Story (56pages then previews of past books to get it to the 80pages claimed on Amazon)
Heat: 2.5 out of 5
Rating: 2.5-3 out of 5
Novellas and short stories are always a risk but since I adore the Lucky Harbor series and have enjoyed short stories from Shalvis in the past I had high hopes for Under the Mistletoe. And while I did enjoy some parts of it and the story was complete it still left a good bit to be desired, in my opinion.
Part of the problem for me was that the story skips 5 years in the future when Ford and Tara's daughter, Mia, has gone away to college and found herself a man. Now, last we saw her she wasn't even legal (that I can remember) and I just couldn't get that out of my head. I kept seeing her as a 17 year old and, you know, that's got a real ick factor in some of the situations they get into. And with so few pages by the time I did get that out of my head it was, unfortunately, nearly over.
Now, putting aside the whole age thing, I did like Mia and Nick. They've got a little drama and hurt feelings going on, are sweet and sexy and your heart breaks for them a little when things go amiss. But really I wanted more for Mia. Not that I didn't like Nick, because I did. It just felt too soon for her story and I would have much preferred things being held off and getting a full length or at least a more fleshed out novella down the line. With both of them having complicated family lives growing up their story really could have been so much more developed and explored.
While Under the Mistletoe did provide a nice little taste of life in Lucky Harbor while we wait for the next novel and I did enjoy getting to see a little of the three original sisters and their men the story as a whole just didn't make it all the way into the "amazing" category that I expect from Shalvis now days.
If this had been a freebie bonus read, or at most 99cents, I might not be so disappointed. But $1.99 is just too steep a price for the quality or quantity in my opinion. I'd recommend this one more for the hardcore Lucky Harbor fans and not for those trying out Shalvis/the series for the first time. If you're interested in trying Shalvis out definitely start at the beginning of the series. All 6 books are just amazing and are some of my favorites!
*A copy of Under the Mistletoe was provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
What say you? Have you tried Under the Mistletoe?