Monday, November 4, 2013

The Christmas Cookie Collection

The Christmas Cookie Collection by Lori Wilde gives us 4 unique love stories involving women in small town Twilight, Texas.  The 4 different stories all take place around the same time, occurring simultaneously.

Twilight has a legend...that if you make a wish and throw a coin in the park fountain, you will have true love forever with your first sweetheart.  Carrie has made many a wish and thrown many a coin, but she has given up on ever reuniting with her first and only love, Mark.  Mark moved on to a life outside of Twilight many years ago...right around Christmas.  Christmas is also the time of year that Carrie's mother died, and Carrie is finding it difficult to feel festive.
When Mark is suddenly back in Twilight as the host of a television show attempting to prove myths, such as Twilight's, wrong, Carrie does not want to feel anything for him.  But she's not as over him as she thought she was...and when Mark sees Carrie again, he realizes exactly what he left behind.  They are both different people all these years later, but at the same time they are the same people.  Can they find their way back to each other?  Is it possible for them to be reunited in a forever love?

Raylene gave up a daughter 35 years ago and kept it a secret until last Christmas.  When she finally tells her husband, he feels betrayed and leaves.  It's been a year now since Raylene has seen or heard from him...but he is still in her heart, she's having a hard time moving on, and she can't let go of the hope that he will come back to her.  At the same time, Shannon comes to Twilight, and she's keeping secrets too.  Shannon is trying to find her past, and at the same time move on to a new future.  Raylene is a key to all of that...only Raylene doesn't know yet. 
Shannon does not come to Twilight looking for romance, but the electricity between her and Nate can't be ignored.  With her secrets and past hurts, can Shannon take the chance on Nate and trust what her heart is telling her?

Christine is a baker.  She had her Olympic dreams shattered in an accident years ago, but for the most part has moved on quite nicely even if she is alone, thank you very much!  She does not want to dwell on the negatives...but sometimes it's hard not to.  When her high school crush comes into the bakery, they reconnect very quickly.  They try to take things slowly since Eli brings 4 children and himself into any relationship, but the feelings they have for each other refuse to slow down.  Both feel things for each they've felt for no other...can they make it work?

Finally we read more about Flynn (Carrie's sister) and her husband Jesse.  Flynn and Jesse definitely both have a lot going on in their lives, but they are working through it as they get ready for the birth of their first child.  When Jesse's past comes back to haunt him, Flynn is left driving home alone in a snowstorm.  When the worst happens and the baby decides it's time, it will take a husband's love and persistence, a dog, and a Christmas miracle to get to Flynn and the baby Grace in time.

These were 4 wonderful, magical holiday love stories by Lori Wilde.  I loved them all!  Each story takes place at the same point in us a look into different lives at Christmas time in Twilight.  The stories are all very different, but they all give us hope for the future, a belief in true love, and the promise of Christmas's magic.  I very easily lost myself in Carrie, Raylene, Christine, and Grace's stories...each one left me sighing with a full heart.  I loved how Lori gives us so many different perspectives through the stories, and in particular in Raylene's story we get both her and Shannon's perspectives throughout.

The characters are all strong and the stories though interwoven are at the same time independent of each other.  Lori describes Twilight so perfectly, from the snow, the Christmas celebrations, the shops and small town friendships that I could see it in my head and felt like I could have been there.

Along with the romance and healing hearts, Lori gives us lots of laughter too.  I love this in a book because it is what life is all about - being happy.  And I was left feeling happy when I finished The Christmas Cookie Collection.

I'd highly recommend The Christmas Cookie Collection to any romance reader looking for a heart warming, very satisfying holiday read!

5/5 stars :)

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