Written as a first person narrative, author Sharon Kleve weaves a classic tale about two strangers finding comfort and solace in each others arms in her contemporary romance Christmas Kisses and Wishes from Books to Go Now publishing. Set in a small town that reads like a facsimile to the cozy country hamlets described in soap operas and seen in fan favorites like General Hospital’s Port Charles and The Gilmore Girls‘ Stars Hollow, Vine Grove in Washington state has its share of friends for life, a perfect nesting ground for roaming Finn Dubose, a newly divorced woman whose only baggage is her delightful pug Scorch.
When Finn arrives in Vine Grove, her first acquaintance is an animal rescuer like herself, Keaton Vanhorn, a veterinarian who is too good to be true as he lives up to the reader’s image of a good samaritan. Their love story moves quickly as though three years of intimacy are squeezed into three months with a great deal of their bonding focusing on their affection for homeless pets.
The pair meet just before Halloween and are getting married by Christmas. Their relationship is built around lively conversations as they find enjoyment in having uncomplicated discussions about animals and the people in town. They are down-home folks who express joy in looking after the basic needs of their lives.
Kleve is gifted in creating atmosphere whether her characters are experiencing a gloomy mood or heavenly joy and bliss. Christmas Kisses and Wishes is the second story in Kleve’s “Christmas Love List” series. The common element that strings the books in this series is the leading female characters link to the town’s popular wine shop Que Syrah Syrah, owned by Tegan Taylor who developed a game called the Love List.
The gist of the game is that all the names of the eligible bachelors in town are put in a hat. Single women are then instructed to pull a name out of the hat and told to ask the man on the slip of paper out on a date. In Finn’s case, all of the slips of paper in the hat had Keaton’s name on them.
The story is fiction at its most uncomplex as the two main characters form a bond that has few complications and many moments of happiness. Perhaps hard to believe but easy to want to believe.