Published: September 24th, 2013
Christmas on 4th Street (Fool's Gold #12.5)
By: Susan Mallery
Noelle Perkins just got a second chance at life, and she intends to make the most of every minute. That's why she ditched a frustrating legal career to open her own store in Fool's Gold, California. The Christmas Attic celebrates everything that's magical about her favorite season. Business is booming, and as a bonus, gorgeous army doctor Gabriel Boylan has offered to help out during the holiday rush.
Gabriel's memories of Christmas past contain more sour grapes than sugar plums, thanks to a drill sergeant father who ran his home like a boot camp. Spending the holidays with his family while he recuperates from injury sounds as appetizing as last year's eggnog. Still, there are some enjoyable distractions in town, including sunny, sexy Noelle...and the red-hot mistletoe kisses they can't stop sharing.
Gabriel didn't think he was made for happily-ever-afters. But when fate hands you a love as sweet and surprising as this, only a fool could refuse...
So, imma be completely honest: I just wanted a cute, slightly schmaltzy, Christmas romance. I have never read any other books by Susan Mallery before, including the others in this series. In other words, I started twelve and a half books into a series. I am a dum-dum and I FULLY admit it. But that doesn't mean I think I'm rating/reviewing this book unfairly. It just means that I don't have the rose-colored glasses and series-fan filter that many other readers are going to have going in to it. I can admit also, that had I read the other books in the series, I think I STILL would have been disappointed. Her name is Noelle, she runs a store called "The Christmas Attic" and lives in a small town called Fool's Gold. His name is Gabriel, he's an army doctor struggling with PTSD, and is just in town to visit his brother for the holidays. Of course, the two of them meet-cute and it's instant attraction. Unbeknownst to him, Mom and Dad are visiting too; so he does the only thing he can: offers to work at Noelle's store (she's short-handed) to get out of the house. The attraction only grows but can the two of them work past their issues, and end up happily ever after?
Their cheesy holiday names didn't bother me that much. Neither did the dumb way they met each other. It was her Mary-Sue perfectness, topped with the "loveable ditz" routine, that really got on my frickin nerves. Her stupidity when driving on snow and ice really made me roll my eyes and scoff - then again, I'm from Michigan. If I drove like she did, I'd be laughed out of the state. They had no real reason to resist attraction. The whole of their "obstacles" were forced at best and tritely unbelievable at worst. He doesn't believe in love. And that's pretty much the base of the whole thing. Not to mention, his leave from the army is forced and he doesn't even want to really be there. The whole thing of why she lost her job/quit and moved to Fool's Gold - to open a Christmas store of all things! - was so cliched, even for a romance during the holidays, that it kind of made me gag. And his family problems were resolved way to easy.
I think what REALLY made me mad though, was the ending. They have known each other for six-freaking weeks!!! I do not know anyone (at least anyone SANE) that would jump from misunderstandings, to sex, to not speaking, to marriage! It must be luuurrrvve apparently. The whole thing with the town "booming" and needing all those doctors, etc. just seemed so Mayberry that it had me rolling my eyes every time the Mayor or anyone else talked about how great the town was, or how they'd never expected to love it so much. Uh-huh, okay... Overall, not the series or writer for me. It was just too cheesy and cutesy, and I hated the ending. I'm sure fans of the author and people who liked the other books in the series might feel differently. But I for sure won't be revisiting Fool's Gold.
VERDICT: 2/5 Stars
*I received this book from Harlequin HQN, on NetGalley. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. This book was published on September 24th, 2013.*