The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery
Published by Harlequin ISBN 9781335522450
Trade paperback, $16.99, 432 pages
Last Christmas, I was enchanted by Susan Mallery's Happily This Christmas, a holiday story in her Happily Inc. series, so I was excited to see that she has a new Christmas book in a new series. The Christmas Wedding Guest is the second book set in Wishing Tree, Washington, a town that celebrates Christmas year-round.
Sisters Reggie and Dena are helping their mother plan a Christmas vow renewal. Their parents didn't get the big wedding 35 years ago, and now Mom wants all the bells and whistles.
Dena is a schoolteacher who also owns the town's B&B, left to her by her aunt. She is also pregnant, ready to be a single mother after she feels that love has passed her by. Last year on Thanksgiving weekend, Reggie's boyfriend proposed on Friday, hosted a big engagement party on Saturday, and broke up with her on Sunday.
Reggie moved to Seattle for her job, and is not excited to see everyone again after last year. Her high school boyfriend Toby moved back to town with his eight year-old son to live with his grandmother. He is a hugely successful businessman, and his son is in Dena's class.
Micah is a rock star who lost his wife and unborn baby in a car accident last year. He came to Wishing Tree to work with a friend and get away from it all, and ends up staying in Dena's B&B. Dena, like every other woman, is attracted to the handsome man, and Micah seems to like Dena as well.
The characters in The Christmas Wedding Guest don't necessarily have secrets, it's more that they have complications in their life. Dena is a pregnant soon-to-be single mom with horrible all-day sickness, Micah is trying to move on from his tragic accident, and while Reggie is thrown together with Toby who left town abruptly at age eighteen without a word to Reggie, Toby is determined not to get romantically involved with anyone.
No one creates these charming towns populated with characters that you feel like you know as friends as well as Susan Mallery. On her website susanmallery.com, you can see maps of the towns like Happily, Inc. and Wishing Tree, with all of the charming small businesses highlighted. Looking at them makes you feel like you are walking through the town you just read about. Her books are Hallmark Christmas movies waiting to happen.
I adored The Christmas Wedding Guest as much as Happily This Christmas, and like last year, I will be giving this book to someone I know who loves Christmas. I can't wait to read more books in the series so I can get to know the people of Wishing Tree better.
My review of Happily This Christmas is here.
Thanks to Harlequin Books for putting me on their Holiday Romance Book Tour.