A Christmas Kiss by Susan Hatler

A Christmas Kiss Cover

G-rated, short-story, Christmas romance

A Christmas Kiss (Kissed by the Bay #5) by Susan Hatler

Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: November 28, 2016
Publisher: Hatco Publishing
Length: 178 pages
Source: Purchase
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

A cynical female divorce attorney rediscovers the spirit of Christmas–and romance–when she accidentally finds herself sharing a double-booked Lake Tahoe cabin with her opposite number in a contentious divorce case, a fellow divorce attorney with a surprising faith in the redemptive power of true love.

This is not a full romance novel but rather a short story. As such it can be forgiven for employing a plot point that is the bane of jaded romance readers, “insta-love.” However, I am glad to report, it avoids what is an even worse cliché, “insta-lust.” This story is G-rated, with only light kissing.

The romantic protagonists are a bit one-dimensional, also due to the fact that in a short story, there is little space for extensive character development. In an attempt, I assume, to establish comic opposites, the author has cast Gabriel as being almost as saintly as his namesake, the angel Gabriel. And the heroine Harper starts out, if not as blatantly cruel as her namesake, the Harpies of ancient mythology, she is rather harsh toward dear old Gabriel in the beginning and at the crisis of the plot. Fortunately for keeping the plot interesting, since Gabriel has no growth arc, given that he’s already the ideal Beta Male, there is plenty of room for Harper to undergo a season-appropriate, Scrooge-like transformation. And, since the story is written in her first-person point of view, it makes sense that she be the one who evolves.

Given that this author is known for writing romantic comedy, or at the least, very mild drama, this story is true to her brand. It provides pleasant, romantic entertainment for those looking for a quick, light, angst-free, sex-free read.

I rate this story as follows:

Heroine: 3

Hero: 4

Subcharacters: 3

Setting: 4

Romance Plot: 3

G-Rated: 4

Writing: 4

Overall: 3.5 rounded to 4

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